Dentists have successfully treated an elephant’s cracked tusk in the Indian state of Kerala in the first operation of its kind. After 5 years of incessant pain, the 27-year old bull elephant’s tusk was repaired using 47 tubes of specialised resin, which is typically used on human patients.
Remarkably, the elephant – named Devidasan – was not tranquilised during the 2.5 hour operation, and was co-operative for the entire duration. After completing the procedure, Dr CV Pradeep later said that if untreated dirt had entered the 50 cm crack in the tusk, a deadly infection could easily have set in.
With no precedent for an operation of this kind, the team of dentists couldn’t say exactly how long the tusk would remain intact, but said that the seal should last for several years as long as the tusk doesn’t grow too much more.
Devidasan has been unable to partake in Hindu festivals because of his cracked tusk, but has since made a comeback in temple festivals all over Kerala.