25.01.2012

Asian elephant is fitted with contact lenses

Asian elephant is fitted with contact lenses

By Alexa Kaczka

An Asian elephant has become the first in Europe to be fitted with a special type of contact lens to improve its vision.

Thida, a resident at Amsterdam's Artis Zoo, suffered an injured eye after a scuffle with another elephant at the facility, which resulted in her being poked in the eye by a twig.

She immediately had difficulty opening and closing her eye and it began to stream which led to specialist vet Anne-Marie Verbruggen being called in to assess the giant mammal.

It was decided that Thida did not require surgery and instead the animal simply needed a special type of contact lens placing in her eye to help restore full vision.

As elephants cannot lie down for long periods without their berathing being affected, Thida was anaesthetised while standing and the vet stood on a ladder to insert the contact lens.

The procedure took a matter of minutes and the 44-year-old elephant has now returned to full health and resumed her role as one of the star attractions at the zoo.

by Adrian Galbreth


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