By Mark Hodge @MrHodgey

AN AFRICAN elephant is treated by a heroic team of medics after it was shot with a poacher's poisoned arrow

Scroll down for the full story




An ailing elephant, which has been struck with a poacher's poisoned arrow, is tracked by a rescue team

The gentle giant, named Wide Satao, is a 'big tusker' - a term used to describe elephants with tusks aged over 40 years, which are targeted for their valuable ivory - with each tusk estimated to be worth over $130,000.

The dramatic pictures were taken by British husband and wife photography team Victoria Peckett, 45, and Philip Ladmore, 50, in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya.

The rescue team dart the gentle giant in order to sedate him before they treat the wound

The ailing animal was treated by conservation group the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Wide Satao was sedated with a dart and had his wound cleaned, before being given a large dose of antibiotics.

The huge animal eventually falls enabling the heroic team of medics to move in

If left untreated the poison would have killed the giant bull elephant within 48 hours.

Philip, a company director from Middlesex, England, said: "As we came close to Wide Satao, it became apparent that he had been shot with a poacher's poisoned arrow in his side.

The elephant was targeted by ruthless poachers because of the size and weight of his ivory tusks

“We had to wait until next morning and use a plane to relocate him and then call the vet in.

“We were close enough to watch the operation to remove the dart, clean up the wound and give him the wake up drug.

The team work quickly to treat the powerful animal

“We saw him struggle to get to his feet but then move off back to his group of male elephants.”

Each tusk weighs around 100lbs and could fetch over $130,000 on the Chinese blackmarket
The poisoned arrow is removed - if left untreated the elephant would have died within 48 hours
Small but deadly: The deadly arrow is carefully removed from the big tusker

Around 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory across the African continent between 2011 and 2014, according to a 2014 study by Colorado State University.

The team gave the huge mammal a large dose of antibiotics and cleaned its wound

The illegal poaching trade is fuelled by demand in Asia, in particular China – where one kilo of ivory can fetch up to $3,000.

Big tuskers are elephants with tusks aged over 40 and are targets for ivory poachers

Philip revealed that ivory belonging to big tuskers such as Wide Satao is highly prized because of its incredible weight.

The adult male begins to wake up after having his wound cleaned and treated

He said: “Big tuskers are mainly old male elephants with tusks which weigh 100lbs or more each.

The elephant rises to its feet after being treated by the vets - the green clean has applied to its wounds in order to prevent infection and aide healing

“And their numbers are dwindling due to high value of their ivory.”

The beast named Wide Satao made a full recovery thanks to the rescue team