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El Paso Zoo treating sick elephant with stem cell therapy

Savannah, file
Savannah, file

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- 71-year-old Savannah, the El Paso Zoo's Asian elephant, is receiving care for arthritis and ear cancer.

Staff says Savannah's arthritis is progressively worsening in her joints, especially her left elbow. They have her on a regimen of joint supplements, pain medications, and stem cell therapy.

Longtime El Paso Zoological Society donor Barbara Bowman funded Savannah's treatments.

In addition to the arthritis, Savannah is also struggling with early-stage ear cancer. Zoo staff says her ailment was likely caused by sun exposure, so they now lather her with animal-safe sunscreen. They have also brought in an oncologist from Texas A&M to start treatments.

“Savannah remains comfortable, and we hope she will respond to both of these new therapies,” El Paso Zoo director Joe Montisano said. “For now, Savannah will remain on display daily except cold mornings and days where she will choose to stay in her heated barn.”

Savannah is much older than most other Asian elephants. The species has a life expectancy of 45 to 50 years.

Savannah and her fellow Asian elephants are listed as endangered.

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

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Emma Hoggard


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