Longleat Safari Park osteopath helps develop Asian elephant care

A man feeding an elephant
Image caption,Anne is thought to be the oldest elephant in Europe

An osteopath who helps care for a 69-year-old elephant at Longleat Safari Park has led workshops in Thailand about how to care for the animals.

Keepers from the safari park in Wiltshire travelled to Thailand with renowned Cheltenham osteopath Tony Nevin.

He has been treating Asian elephant Anne for more than a decade after she was rescued from a circus.

“We’ve got this whole toolbox of things we can use,” Mr Nevin said.

Mr Nevin uses hand massage techniques along with laser work and infra-red imagery to care for Anne, who has been at Longleat since 2011.

He visits the safari park once a month to look after her, and has taken the skills and insights gained from his time there to teach others how to look after elephants.

Three men and an elephant
Image caption,Mr Nevin and keepers from Longleat have spent time in Thailand

Mr Nevin, whose practise Zoo Ost Ltd is based in Cheltenham, and keepers from Longleat travelled to Chiang Rai in Thailand to led practical workshops with elephant keepers who work across Thailand.

Osteopathy practices with the rescued elephants at the workshop in Thailand saw a marked improvement in their posture and gait over the course of a week.

He said: “I’ve been working with Anne ever since she arrived at the park. She had a life in the circus and that involves effectively gymnastics – and just like any person that does gymnastics, particular joints can suffer.

“So as a result with Anne she’s got arthritis in her hips and knees and throws more of her weight forward which then creates problems in them,” he added.

A baby elephant and its mum walking in grass
Image caption,Asian elephants have benefited from visits from Mr Nevin and others

He said: “As a species, Asian elephants are really struggling and I was really keen to use the skills I’d built up working with Anne and take those out to Thailand and be able to work with elephants there and teach vets and elephant handlers their the techniques that we use. “

Longleat’s head of animal operations, Darren Beasley, said: “Anne is hugely intelligent and renowned for being quite the character by all who are lucky enough to spend time with her.”It is a privilege to have been entrusted with her care and we’re so pleased that – with Tony’s help – we can share the learning and techniques honed at Longleat to provide vital support for her species across the world,” he added.

A man with an elephant
Image caption,Anne is thought to be the fifth oldest elephant in the world

Longleat has joined forces with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the World Elephant Day Foundation to help secure better outcomes for elephants across the world. 

“We are proud that our member safari http://berdasarkanapa.com/ parks such as Longleat are world-leaders in elephant care,” said Dr Jo Judge, CEO of BIAZA.”The dedicated work of Tony and the Longleat keepers is a brilliant example of this – sharing the knowledge and skills they have in caring for Anne, can go on to support elephants all across the world. “

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