A team of more than two dozen zookeepers and vets helped give a two-ton rhino her dental check-up in the United Kingdom on May 16.
The squad helped safely place the huge southern white rhino, named Mikumi, on a bed of straw while she was knocked out.
It took four keepers at Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, Beds, to hold the 31-year-old rhino’s giant jaw open during the dental examination.
Senior veterinary officer Dr. Taina Strike workedwith experts from all around the world to plan the three-hour dental check-up.
“As humans age they may naturally develop tooth wear and tear, as well as decay, and it’s no different for rhinos,” Dr. Strike said.
After Mikumi was anesthetized, equine dentist Dr. Chris Pearce gave the check-up.
Mikumi’s teeth were found to generally be in “excellent condition” although a small fracture in one molar needed repairing.
A southern white rhino’s teeth, which continuously grow throughout their lifetime, help them crush and grind the grass and other vegetation they eat into tiny pieces.
The zoo said it was important to check the condition of older rhinos’ teeth to prevent future health issues.
Dr. Strike added: “Mikumi is in excellent health overall, but she is of advancing age.
“It was important for us to investigate how her teeth were and prevent any future issues from arising.
“Without these large teeth remaining in tip-top condition she would struggle to eat, or poorly digested pieces of plant fibers could make their way into her digestive tract, causing health issues.”
Mikumi may need another check-up in 18 months’ time as her teeth continue to grow, but for now, she’s been given the all-clear.
Dr. Strike praised Whipsnade’s “amazing zookeepers and the veterinary team looking after Mikumi’s health — alongside our nutritionists, who have created a well-balanced and nutritious diet for all our white rhinos.
“We will also assess some of our other white rhinos who are also starting to advance in age and look at providing them with dental check-ups too.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Sterling Creighton Beard
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