Vets rush to help elephant after it was shot with an arrow by farmers

Heartbreaking moment an elephant tries to help up a fallen friend who’s been shot by an arrow, while a calf has a snare removed from its trunk on new wildlife series Equator From The Air

  • Wildlife cameraman and presenter Gordon Buchanan visits habitats on Equator 
  • In Kenya he helps elephant who was shot with arrow by farmers and needs help
  • Vets shoot it with tranquilizer dart and Gordon’s helicopter tries to move herd
  • As vets drive jeeps closer another elephant tries to move fallen pal with its trunk 
  • Equator From The Air is on BBC2 at 8pm on Sunday May 26

A new nature documentary has highlighted the delicate balance between humans and animals along the Equator using aerial footage.

In Sunday night’s episode of BBC2’s Equator From The Air, vets are shown rushing to help an elephant in Kenya that has been injured by an arrow fired by a farmer. 

After shooting the animal with a tranquiliser dart, two jeeps carrying vets try to get closer, but have to scare off another elephant who is desperately trying to help its fallen pal.

Wildlife cameraman and presenter Gordon Buchanan is seen joining the vets on the ground, after helping to chase off the herd in a helicopter. 

In Sunday’s episode of Equator From The Air vets have to tranquilize an elephant, pictured on the floor next to one of the jeeps, so they can remove an arrow from its side

The elephant, pictured, was shot by farmers in Kenya. Before the vets can get close enough they have to chase off another animal who is trying to help it get back up

Before this, he uses the helicopter’s noise to try and push the herd away from the elephant so it can be shot with a dart.

Two teams of vets are on the ground and with the help of the helicopter, which is pushing the herd away, find a clear shot to tranquilise the large animal.

Within minutes the dart takes effect and the injured elephant falls to the ground.

Although most of the herd has retreated one elephant refuses to leave its fallen pal.

The vets on the ground, pictured, rely on the loud noise from the helicopter to help them separate the injured elephant from the herd

Gordon explains how elephants are ‘highly social creatures with strong bonds’ as the animal tries to push the fallen one with its trunk. 

Gordon says: ‘It just shows how compassionate elephants are. There’s three vehicles trying to chase it away and it doesn’t want to leave.’  

Eventually the elephant goes away and Dr Limo can treat the sedated one. Although its ‘gory stuff’ she can’t feel pain while under.

The vet pulls a barbed arrow from the elephant’s said, which would have originally been attached to a wooden part. 

Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan, pictured in Kenya before helping with the elephant, learns that before the Mara Elephant Project got a helicopter they found 120 elephant carcass’

In less than 45 minutes the elephant has been sedated, treated and is back on her feet – leaving Gordon to be very impressed.

He says: ‘Migratory animals need space, and we’re robbing space from elephants.’   

Soon after the elephant rejoins the herd the men get another call for a baby elephant that has a snare stuck on its trunk.  

The rescue is emotional for Gordon, who is seen looking distressed on camera as the vets roll the baby elephant.  

Gordon also watches vets help a baby elephant, pictured, after its trunk gets stuck in a snare

Snare traps can be fatal to calves, pictured, but this one survives and is reunited with its mother

Although snare injuries can be fatal, vets manage to release the calf who is soon reunited with its mother.  

In the episode Gordon is seen taking to the skies with Mark Goss, CEO and pilot of the Mara Elephant Project.

On their way to help the elephant hurt by the dart, the men spot a big herd on the ground ‘with lots of youngsters as well.’

Gordon learns that elephants are often forced into contact with farmers who depend on the land and can trample on their crops. Pictured is the calf who injured its trunk

While flying in Kenya Gordon is pleased to see a large herd, pictured, which had lots of babies

They explain how elephants are increasingly forced into contact with people who depend on the land, and ‘when crops are trampled farmers understandably respond.

Mark also reveals how before they got a helicopter in 2012 they had lots of reports of conflict and ‘found 120 elephant carcasses in one year before the helicopter.’ 

Also shown in the episode is the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement camp in Uganda, which is home to 280,000 South Sudanese people.

Gordon meets a group of men who are mapping the area using smart phones and GPS to help aid facilities to know what’s in the area. 

Gordon, pictured, also visits the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement camp in Uganda during the episode and learns how people are trying to map the area using GPS and smart phones

While there Gordon visits a school which has 3,800 children enrolled but only 15 rooms. The teacher reveals they need 21 more. 

Gordon also visits Gabon where close to 90 per cent of the land is covered in tropical rainforrests.

These are home to chimps, leopards, and a quarter of earth’s remaining gorillas but there’s also rich deposits of gold under the forests.  

As Gordon looks out of the helicopter he sees an old mine site which he describes as a ‘big scar on the forest.’  

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