Nineteen-year-old Kimba is the first elephant that zoo officials know of to receive acupuncture and acupressure.
This pachyderm suffers from edema, fluid under the skin, and it is hoped that the use of acupuncture and acupressure will relieve the swelling.
Veterinarian Della Garell, DVM. at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in Colorado Springs, says it may take months before she know if the treatments work. In the meantime, Kimba gets a reward for putting up with the needle pricks: cabbage, apples and nuts.
General Curator Dale Leeds, says Kimba was born in the wild, in South Africa, and has been at the zoo since 1981.
Leeds, who clearly favors the species, says "elephants have the best characteristics of other animals". He mentions their intelligence, for one, and also their social structure (which resembles the human social structure.)
Leeds hopes that since elephants need a large amount of land to live on in the wild, that they will be the impetus to lead to needed conservation: "If we can protect enough land for them, many other species will benefit", he says.