Today, we were all on edge, because the operation on Narripi’s hyena damaged trunk was scheduled for 2 p.m. and for that reason, he had to miss his 12 p.m. milk feed. Denying this very brave little baby the milk he so forcefully demands every 3 hours was a hard task! He pleaded, and he pushed his hung blanket, and sucked the Keepers’ fingers, confused as to why suddenly the life-giving milk bar had gone on hold! However, this was an important necessity, because vomiting whilst under anesthesia could be life threatening.
Just after 2 p.m. Dr. Dieter Rottcher, who handles our Nursery elephant cases, ably assisted by Sanjay, put little Narripi to sleep. He was very cautious, removing only the dead tissue that was blocking the two nostrils, and cutting away the “flap” hanging on the side and stitching a portion of the trunk. There was celebration when Narripi came around and stood up again, demanding his milk NOW, and tonight, apart from a very raw and painful trunk, he is doing fine, his diarrheoa stabilizing, and his spirits strong, He will always have just one nostril near the tip of his trunk, and another clear air passage further up. He will never have the benefit of his missing “fingers”, but he will learn how to cope with this disability, just as do humans who have had to adjust to limb injuries.
UPDATE: 5 days after the operation Narripi's trunk appears to be healing well, as can be seen by the photograph below.