Nineteen elephants at ENP have been identified as candidates for foot care. The schedule is set to provide pachyderm pedicures at the hospital building twice daily.
When I was in Thailand last June I did a great deal of foot work on Mae Kham Geao. Her nails were abscessed and pads sloughing. She was confined day and night to the hospital area with little opportunity to walk and bathe herself. Fortunately I was able to convince the veterinarian to give Mae Kham Geao and her best friend Mae Tee unrestricted daily access to the pasture and river. The results were fabulous.
It was a pleasure to see the improvement in Mae Kham Geao’s feet and her confidence in receiving her pedicure. Her pads are supple and healthy. Her nails are no longer infected but they had four months of over-growth that needed to be trimmed away.
Mae Kham Geao’s mahout, Dame, is a kind and experienced caregiver. His interest in foot care has grown in my absence. After a few minutes of reviewing the procedure, he picked up a rasp and began to trim his elephant’s feet. His initiative and confidence will have an influence on the other mahouts, a real plus in the training process.
My foot care client for the past two days has been Jun Peng, a wonderful older female, who nearly sprinted up the ramp of the concrete loading dock being used as a foot-trimming platform. A basket of freshly cut produce was all that was needed to entice her to present her feet for trimming.
Jun Peng was a perfectly lovely client, calmly standing in place for more than 30 minutes each session. Her nails were quite overgrown but very healthy. The pads of both front feet showed signs of past trauma but no new problems.
Tomorrow’s pachyderm client will arrive at the pedicure clinic at 10:30 am. I am excited to see who she is.