Today I was supposed to give Menaka a pedicure to address two problem areas on her front feet.
I met Menaka in India last May. At that time she was living at the Bangalore Zoo, having recently been confiscated by the government from a temple. She was thin, nervous and a bit aggressive, and her feet did not look good.
Menaka no longer lives at the zoo, which is good news. Instead, she resides at the wildlife rehab center run by CUPA, which happens to be next door to the zoo. She is not on exhibit, which suits her well, but still receives the fringe benefits, such as spending the night loose in the forest with the zoo’s related herd of elephants.
When I visited Menaka a few days ago, I didn’t recognize her. She was calm, her weight was good and her feet were on the mend. We set an appointment for today to trim her feet but I just got an unexpected phone call. All of the elephants, including Menaka, had not returned from the forest but instead were hanging out with a herd of wild elephants. Imagine the director of a US zoo receiving such a call from his lead elephant trainer telling him the elephants would not be on exhibit as planned due to their gallivanting with wild cousins.
I could not be happier about the pedicure cancellation. Foot care can be done anytime; hanging out with your wild friends definitely takes precedent!