Medical training for Neha

Conditioning Neha the Asian elephant from an early age through protected contact makes it easier for her vets and keepers to monitor her closely, and ensure early diagnosis, which is crucial in the management of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) disease.
  1. A four-day-old Neha peeks timidly at the camera.
  2. Baby shower, literally. A month-old Neha’s already a budding swimmer.
  3. Revelling in a mud spa with favourite ‘aunt’ and playmate Tun.
  4. Senior Keeper Mr Arumugam Lachmana (left) and Deputy Head Keeper Mr Novendran Suppiah (right) conducting visual target training for Neha to present her foot.
  5. Elephant feet are extremely sensitive. Senior Keeper Mr Arumugam Lachmana checks Neha's foot for any injuries or abrasions. The sound of the whistle serves as a 'bridge' signal that tells Neha she is doing a good job. Food rewards are given as positive reinforcement when she cooperates with the daily checks.
  6. Deputy Head Keeper Mr Novendran Suppiah training Neha for a collection of trunk wash, which is used to identify both the presence and levels of EEHV. First, saline water is introduced into the trunk. Neha is taught to lift the trunk to wash the entire nasal cavity. The funnel helps station the trunk, which must stay elevated for 20–30 seconds. She then blows the solution into a bag.
  7. Senior Keeper Mr Arumugam Lachmana conducting an oral check for Neha. Cyanosis, which causes the tongue to turn blue, presents within 24 hours of the onset of EEHV. Once symptoms are detected, Neha must receive treatment immediately or risk losing her life.
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