Keepers and vets at Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury, assisted by a top London dentist, had an unusual treatment to perform recently, when a young elephant chipped his tusk.
The young male, named Mchumba, had damaged his right tusk at the end of last year, removing the tip, and keepers were concerned that this could leave the youngster susceptible to an infection.
Natalie Boyd, Head of Elephant Section said: ‘Mchumba allowed us to inspect and clean his chipped tusk daily, so we were able to send pictures to a London West End dentist, Peter Kertesz, who has experience of treating large animal patients.’
On 8th January, Peter Kertesz, visited the wild animal park to inspect the tusk for himself and after consultation with the parks’ vet team, the decision was made to trim and fill the tusk.
Natalie said: ‘The operation took place under full anaesthetic and took approximately two and a half hours. Peter was able to clean and treat the pulp cavity without removing the nerve, so the tusk will be able to grow normally, which is fantastic news.’
Whilst Mchumba was sedated, the dedicated park vet team were able to perform a thorough health check on the young elephant.
Jane Hopper, Head of Veterinary Services at Howletts commented: ‘We’d like to thank Peter for coming down to Howletts to treat Mchumba’s tusk. I’m pleased to confirm that Mchumba is in excellent health.’
Howletts Wild Animal Park, one of Kent’s most popular visitor attractions, is home to the largest herd of African elephants in the UK.