This is the incredible moment an elephant had its infected molar removed by a veterinary dentist.
When Lucha, an Asian female elephant, dropped her food and her related keepers checked her, they realized the root of the 33-year-old girl’s problems was a loose tooth. The tooth had moved and became infected, causing Lucha great pain.
Veterinarians at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire called on the veterinary dental surgeon, Dr. Peter Kertesz, who helped the team pull out the giant molar – and the whole operation was taken on camera by keepers.
Nic Masters, head veterinarian at the Zoological Society of London, said: ‘While most people dread the idea of going to the dentist, for elephant Lucha it is a comforting experience, due to being regular training and the close relationship she has with our keepers.
‘Keepers quickly recognized when Lucha was not eating, and as soon as the problem tooth was identified, we called in zoo dental expert Dr. Peter Kertesz for help.
‘When anesthetized an animal, we couldn’t predict which side they would lie on, but thanks to training, Lucha was able to lie on her right side, ensuring we had easy access to its gums. Easily and quickly remove the tooth to get her back on her feet as soon as possible.’
Lucha and her herd of 10 Asian elephants at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are part of the European Endangered Species Program (EEP).
The Asian elephant is listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List of endangered species, and ZSL has been working at Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary in western Thailand to address the endangered human-elephant conflict threaten lives and livelihoods as well as protect forest ecosystems.