A quick-witted wildlife rescue team saved an elephant after being trapped by a hunter in the leg.
Martha, this elephant, is seen with a wire wrapped tightly in its leg as it wanders across Zimbabwe’s fields with its calf.
A 58-year-old woman, Catherine Norton, a conservationist living in the country, was called to Musango Island Safari Camp after the owner discovered Martha was struggling to get around.
Norton said she and her team had to immobilize the elephant and said the creature would end its life without intervention.
“There’s a wire trap that dug deep into her left front leg, paralyzing her and causing severe pain,” Norton said.
“We had to clean the wound as it got infected, give her antibiotics, and remove the trap with a wire breaker.”
“It only took her a few minutes to come back, but the results could have been much worse.”
Norton said, “Martha’s calf was still wholly dependent on her, meaning that she was also likely to die if her mother died.”
“It shows how much damage it can do to an innocent animal with just one piece of the rope,” Norton said, adding that a poacher can set up up to 20 traps per day.
“Poaching is more than just shooting and axes,” Norton said. “This method is also ruthless and equally dangerous.”
String traps such as those found around Martha’s feet are usually placed to catch smaller animals wrapped around the neck. However, large animals like elephants and rhinos can sometimes step on them.
In 2017, It killed a lion in Zimbabwe after being caught in a trap that allegedly cut the animal’s belly and ripped off its neck.
According to the Lilongwe Wildlife Foundation in Malawi, such traps are often set up along in-game trails and water holes, according to the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust in Malawi designed to catch animals. Specifically.
Usually, they are hung from small trees to trap an animal as it passes by. The creature will then panic, pulling the tightening cord around its throat as it tries to escape until it suffocates and stops breathing.
While larger animals like elephants are strong enough to separate the tree or branch trap, this process often results in the rope being pulled tighter around their legs.
Then, the animal suffered from painful spasms that were continually causing swelling and infection. Animals in this state often die from infection or stop eating and starve.