At 46-years-old, Rosie is the African elephant requiring the most care and attention due to a variety of chronic, progressive health conditions including degenerative joint disease and severe abscesses in her feet.
Chronic foot disease, recurring abscesses, and complications from arthritis are common in aging captive elephants.
On Friday, a five-person veterinary team led by Dr. Ed Ramsey from the University of Tennessee assisted The Sanctuary's Veterinary and Husbandry Teams in a veterinary procedure to treat Rosie’s abscesses. The procedure and recovery went well, and the veterinarians were able to examine, clean, and treat several abscesses. Rosie is now wearing rubber “boots” made of tractor tire inner tubes to protect her feet while they are healing.
“Rosie appears much more comfortable than she has in several weeks,” said African Caregiver, Greg.
Africa’s lead Caregiver Kristy added, “After the procedure, Rosie only seemed upset that she had missed breakfast.”
In 1971, Rosie was captured from the wild and imported to the United States. She lived in several Florida facilities during her early years, and then moved to the Zoo in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1977 at the age of six years. In 2010, Rosie and her companion Juno were transferred to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere where they joined Hadari and Sukari. Juno died in the spring of 2015. Hadari, Sukari, and Rosie were retired to The Elephant Sanctuary in the fall of 2015.
Individualized health care and innovative barn renovations, including a sand stall, have helped improve Rosie’s strength, flexibility, and overall health in her first year at The Sanctuary.
Recently, The Sanctuary's Care Staff have created a large pile of sand in Rosie's barn stall that has allowed her to lay down on a slope for the first time in at least 10 years. Having the ability to take some weight off of her joints and feet has assisted in Rosie's continued recovery.
Care Staff have expressed how impressed they continue to be with Rosie's spunk and resilience.