Wild animals are unpredictable, particularly in life-threatening situations, so veterinarians in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park were shocked when an injured elephant walked right up to them in search of help.
The elephant in question was Pretty Boy, a large bull suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Veterinarians from the Animal and Wildlife Area Research and Rehabilitation Trust had been dispatched to Mana Pools to treat Pretty Boy for the open bullet wound on his forehead. When they arrived, the vets spotted an additional gunshot wound on the elephant’s shoulders.
Unsure of what to expect, the vets waited for Pretty Boy to appear. When made an appearance among the trees, the elephant didn’t display caution, fear or injury-induced rage — instead, he was calm and docile. Dr. Lisa Marabini, one of the AWARE vets, mentioned that he “emanated serenity.”
After the AWARE staff tranquilized Pretty Boy from a safe distance, they took in-field X-rays of his wounds and removed the bullet and pieces of necrotic bone. Finally, they sterilized the wound and gave the elephant antiseptics and antibiotics to speed healing. On July 6, 2016, AWARE shared an update saying that Pretty Boy was looking well and relatively healthy; guides continue to monitor his progress.