Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Mother elephant caught in a snare set by cruel poachers is rescued after being found limping in agony with a festering foot wound in Zimbabwe

A quick-thinking wildlife rescue team have saved an elephant’s life after it was spotted with a hunter’s snare attached to its leg.

The elephant, known as Martha, was seen with the looped piece of wire tightly cutting into her leg as she wandered the plains of Zimbabwe with her calf.

Catherine Norton, 58, a conservationist living in the country, was called to the Musango Island Safari Camp after the owner spotted Martha struggling to walk.

Norton said she and her team had to immobilise the elephant, saying the creature would have surely died without intervention.

‘There was a wire snare digging deep into her left front leg, crippling her and causing severe pain,’ Norton said.

‘We had to clean the wound as it was infected, give her antibiotics and remove the snare with wire cutters.

‘It only took her a few minutes to come around but the outcome could have been so much worse.’

Norton said Martha’s calf was still completely dependent on her, meaning if her mother had died she would likely perish too.

‘It shows how much damage can be done to an innocent animal with just one piece of wire,’ Norton said, adding that one poacher could set up to twenty snares a day.

‘Poaching isn’t just about shooting and axes,’ Norton said. ‘This method is just as cruel and equally deadly.

Wire snares like the one found around Martha’s leg are usually set to catch smaller animals around the neck, however large animals like elephants and rhinos can sometimes step into them.

In 2017, a lion in Zimbabwe was killed after being caught in a snare that reportedly cut into the animal’s stomach and tore open it’s neck.

Such snares are often set up along game trails and watering holes, according to the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust in Malawi, and are designed to catch specific animals.

Usually, they are suspended from small trees to trap an animal by the neck as it passes. The creature will then panic, pulling the wire tighter around its throat as it struggles to break free until it is asphyxiated and dies.

While bigger animals like elephants are strong enough to detach the snare from the tree or branch it is anchored to, this process often results in the wire being pulled more tightly around their leg.

The animal then is subject to constant painful constriction that causes swelling and infection. Animals in this state often die from infection or stop eating and starve.

Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!


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