Can Zoos Care for their Booming Elder Animals?

Eric Adler of the Kansas City Star updates us on how zoos are dealing with the problems that come when animals get old, as the often do in the relative safety of zoos. One of the biggest challenges is inflammation, especially of the joints where it's known as arthritis. Older animals often can't move as freely or as easily as younger ones because they're often in pain. This can be compounded when they live in the newer, enriched environments that don't have ramps to navigate.  

In Kansas City, a 47-year old elephant named Lady receives 30 minute long laser treatments of her ankles. The laser provides heat and relieves some of the pain from arthritis. 

“They are living a lot longer in our care than they used to, so we have had to figure out strategies and methods to deal with an aging population,” Rob Vernon, a spokesman for the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) told the Kansas City Star.


(Photo by Jim Bowen.)

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