Watch Elephants Do Yoga, Get Pedicures at Syracuse Zoo
Your first thought when you see these beautiful, giant creatures probably isn't yoga or nail care. But believe it or not, elephants need care just like humans do, and for Asian Elephant Awareness Month in August, the folks at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse are giving us a look into what it takes to care for one of these gentle giants.
The zoo has been posting videos on its Facebook page throughout the month so far. One video shows one of the zoo's elephants, Siri, doing her stretch training, also known as elephant yoga. According to the zoo, geriatric elephants participate in stretch training sessions a multiple times each week to improve and maintain their flexibility as they age. So far, Siri's stretches have significantly improved her range of motion, and it really does look like she's doing yoga!
"Siri really seems to enjoy her yoga and it is often used as a great relationship builder for new keepers," the zoo posted on Facebook. "Siri has even contributed by coming up with some of her own stretches!"
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo also shared a video of a keeper giving an elephant a pampering pedicure. Keepers use X-Acto blades, a rasp and a grinder during elephant pedicures, which the animals are trained to participate in as needed. The pedicures and these specialized tools help keepers care for one of the elephants' most sensitive areas.
"Fun fact: Elephants walk on their tip toes," the zoo posted on Facebook. "The bones in their feet come down the large nail in the front and the large flat portion behind the nail is a wedge-shaped cartilage pad. The pad is non-sensitive and rubbery and absorbs the shock of their great weight while giving them good traction."
In case you're wondering why the elephants at the zoo are getting pedicures when they certainly wouldn't get them in the wild, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo has the answer.
"In the wild many elephants suffer from foot infections or rotting tissue due to moisture that is trapped in the flaps that form when the pad or nails become overgrown," the zoo posted in a comment on the video. "By keeping the flaps trimmed back and the nails from touching the ground we eliminate some of that risk."
Pretty neat, right? We all need some self-care sometimes, and these elephants are living proof of that.
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has a bunch of other elephant related videos and fun facts on its Facebook page, so head over and peruse away. The zoo is also collecting donations for Asian Elephant Awareness Month that will go to elephant conservation projects in the wild.