VIDEO: Zoo releases close-up footage of elephant tooth operation

Now that's a mammoth tooth

Now that's a mammoth tooth

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Zookeepers at Whipsnade have been busy tackling a mammoth toothache and they’ve captured it all on camera.

An elephant at the popular nearby zoo was paid a visit from the dentist to fix a mammoth toothache, and keepers captured the whole procedure on camera.

Keepers noticed that 33-year-old Lucha, a female Asian elephant, was off her food, and upon investigation from the vets were able to get to the root of the problem; a wobbly tooth that had moved and become infected.

Vets called upon the services of West End dental surgeon Dr. Peter Kertesz, a specialist in zoo dentistry, to help the team extract the massive molar.

Head Vet at the Zoological Society of London, Nic Masters said: “While most people dread the idea of a visit to the dentist, for Lucha the elephant it was a relaxed experience, due to the regular training and close relationship she has with our keepers.

“The keepers quickly noticed when Lucha was off her food, and as soon as we identified the problem tooth, we called upon expert zoo dentist Dr Peter Kertesz to help out.

“When anaesthetizing an animal, we can’t predict what side they’ll lie down on, but thanks to training, Lucha was able to lay down on the right side, ensuring we could access her gum easily, and quickly remove the tooth to get her back on her feet as soon as possible.”

Lucha and the herd of ten Asian elephants at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). Asian elephants are classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, and ZSL has been working in Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary in western Thailand to tackle the human-elephant conflict that threatens lives and livelihoods and protect the forest ecosystem.

Visitors can see ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s herd of Asian elephants go for their daily 2.5 mile walk around the 600-acre Zoo by booking online at www.zsl.org