Testing of malnourished elephants by broken tusks


In order to determine whether or whether a wild elephant in Khao Yai National Park was malnourished, its fractured tusk is being examined.

The fractured tusk was sent to the Synchrotron Light Research Institute for testing by Phattarapol Manee-on, who heads the wildlife health management division at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation. When two wild elephants tussled over a salt lick in Khao Yai National Park, park rangers were able to recover the samples.

Wild bull elephant Plai Thong Kham lost a tusk in an altercation with competitor male Plai Nga Thong in an artificial salt lick in Khao Yai national park, Nakhon Ratchasima, last month.

According to Supakorn Rakmai, assistant director of the research center, the purpose of analyzing the ivory with synchrotron light was to determine the elemental radio and chemical functional group proportions of organic compounds, which would show changes in the ivory’s biochemical contents. Three-dimensional X-ray imaging would be utilized to measure the porosity of the ivory and so identify whether or not the fragility of the tusk was caused by starvation. Care for wild elephants will benefit from this data as it may be used to better prepare for future medical needs.

According to Phattarapol, seven samples were provided from artificial salt licks located across the national park so that the mineral content could be compared. Plai Thong Kham’s left tusk was broken off at the base, close to the root, which led him to conclude that the tusks of wild elephants were easily shattered. The elephant’s receding gums were another noticeable symptom. Also, there is cause for concern that wild elephants may be malnourished because they frequently venture out of the forest in search of waste or salty meals like fermented fish and quick noodles.

To determine if the minerals in the salt blocks are safe for wildlife eating, Phattarapol thinks they should be tested in the salt licks.

Author: annie


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