We recently had a very busy start to the day when we discovered a female warthog that needed our urgent attention! As is the normal routine at Ilala Lodge Hotel, guests begin their day with a delicious breakfast and follow this up with a wander down to the walkway where they watch the daily feeding of the warthogs who frequent our luscious green front lawns.
Over the years, a family of warthog, a female and her young, meander through the scrub of the Zambezi National Park, appearing at 8am sharp, where they know a grounds man is waiting for them. And why would you not? With a rockery bird bath filled with clean fresh water and a delicious breakfast consisting of 2kg game cubes, there is no better way to begin your day in the wild.
Going back to our busy morning, whilst our guests were observing this particular family of warthog, a mother and her newly born litter devouring the game cubes, they noticed that the mother had a porcupine quill lodge on her snout. The guests quickly brought this to our attention and although the warthog did not look like she was experiencing too much discomfort or pain, you can see that it was in the way and bothersome to her. Nature is usually about survival of the fittest, and we do respect this. However, every now and again if the need to step in arises, we feel it is important to intervene and help an animal out, which is exactly what we did.
As a member of the “Ugly Five”, warthogs are neither graceful nor beautiful, and a quill on a snout is an unflattering accessory! So we acted quickly, calling up Dr. Chris Foggin, a revered game ranger from the Wild Horizons Wildlife Trust to come over to remove the quill.
Dr. Foggin is well-known for being the only veterinarian in the country attending to rhino veterinary requirements. In this work he had to perform 1400 field immobilizations of black and white rhino for routine management operations as well as for translocations and treatments of snares and other injuries. Dr. Foggin and his veterinary assistant, Clever Kapandura, quickly arrived and set to work on the warthog.
After a matter of minutes, the whole process was over. With due care, the warthog was successfully darted and whilst her babies hid in the safety of the national park bushveld, the porcupine quill was gently removed, the tranquilizer was reversed and the warthog trotted off like nothing had happened, quill-less and merry!
Image credits: Ilala Lodge