Update to Lucy’s Story

Lucy was examined by a third party veterinarian.

Dr. James Oosterhuis, a lead researcher with the Colyer Institute in San Diego, examined Lucy on Thursday along with zoo veterinarian Milton Ness.

“Her [Lucy’s] current respiratory problems preclude any thought of moving her, and, in fact, it would [be] life threatening for her to be placed under that kind of stress,” Oosterhuis said in a letter to the zoo.

An endoscope was used during the examination to look at the elephant’s trunk. It showed Lucy had severe swelling around the trunk and nose, making it hard for her to breathe through her trunk. While she can take in air through the mouth, stressful situations make it harder for her to breathe, according to a news release issued by the city.

On Monday, Zoocheck’s Julie Woodyer said Oosterhuis’ assessment does not settle the issue for them. She points to the case of Maggie, the elephant from the Alaska Zoo, who was moved from Anchorage to a sanctuary in California in 2007.

The zoo consulted 11 experts in making its decision to move Maggie. Oosterhuis was the only expert who said she shouldn’t be moved, Woodyer said.

I think this re-examination stresses the importance of dealing with Lucy’s medical conditions before moving her. The fact that Dr.Oesterhuis did not think that Maggie should have been moved does not negate the seriousness of Lucy sinus infection.


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