Zookeepers at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden work hard to build trust with the animals in their care. By doing so, they are more likely to be able to train behaviors that allow animals to participate in their own medical care. The relationship that senior keeper Jenna Wingate has built with Tucker the hippo has helped her help him in a big way!
“Tucker has a misaligned upper tooth that was causing his lower left tusk to put pressure on his upper gum,” said Wingate. “We could see that trimming that tusk would alleviate the problem, but that wasn’t something that would be worth the risk of anesthetizing him. So, we set out to desensitize him to being touched in and around his mouth and then introduced the electric grinder!”
As you might imagine from your own visits to the dentist, the sound alone was a lot to get used to. Then there was the vibration when the grinder touched his tooth.
“It took time and patience, but it has paid off,” said Wingate. “We’ve removed about an inch from the tusk so far!”
You can visit Tucker and the rest of his bloat – Bibi, Fiona, and Fritz – daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Members get Early Entry and are welcome to enter the Zoo at 9 a.m.
DID YOU KNOW…. You pay more than $10 less per ticket, on select days, when you purchase tickets online! That’s a $40 savings for a family of 4!