By Dr. Benard Ssebide

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park authority contacted Gorilla Doctors on January 26 to report that a juvenile male gorilla named Kajeyo had been caught in a wire snare in the Kibumba area of the park. The Habinyanja group trackers had noticed the snare wrapped around the young male’s upper right arm when they were visiting the group with tourists that day. Dr. Hameed and I immediately packed our equipment and traveled to Bwindi that evening, ready to intervene to remove the snare the following day.

Once we located the group the following morning, we made an assessment of Kajeyo’s condition. Though loose, we still felt that the gorilla may not be able to free himself from the snare. He also had multiple wounds on his face and right hand that required veterinary attention. The group was evidently agitated and stressed; the dominant silverback was aggressive and charging us as soon as we entered the group. 

To sedate Kajeyo for the intervention, he was darted with a combination of Ketamine and Dexameditomidine in the left thigh. 25 minutes into the procedure, we injected an additional dose to keep the young gorilla sedated.

Kajeyo’s vital signs (heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood oxygen saturation) were checked and found to be within normal limits. We then removed the braided wire snare from his right arm.

Snare wrapped around Kajeyo’s upper right arm.

The wound on his right inguinal area was cleaned and stitched up and his other wounds on his face and hand were cleaned thoroughly.

He was injected with 750 mg of the antibiotic Ceftriaxone and our team completed a full physical exam. Approximately 20 mls of blood, oral and fecal swabs were collected for routine diagnostic testing. 

After 45 minutes, we reversed the sedative. He recovered smoothly and had rejoined the group after one hour. 

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