Here’s some news to sink your teeth into – Monarto Safari Park’s Chimp has had a special trip to the dentist.
Male Chimpanzee Sandali visited veterinary dentist Dr David Clarke. Dr David flew in from Victoria to assist local veterinary dentist Dr Kirsten Hailstone in the assessment of this primate patient under general anaesthetic.
Assistant Curator of Natives and Primates, Tom Hurley, said a team of 20 people were involved in the procedure to complete root canal work on Sandali.
“Chimpanzees are very tough animals so even though Sandali may not show it, we all know how uncomfortable it can be to have a tooth issue and he’ll be feeling much more comfortable now.
“It’s so important we maintain the dental hygiene of animals in our care to keep them happy and healthy and it’s a huge help to have the expertise of the dental team,” said Tom.
Animals in Zoos SA’s care may only undergo general anaesthetic once every few years, so the vet team also took the opportunity to complete a full health check on the chimp. This involved assessing ears, eyes, skin and taking blood.
“For Sandali’s procedure we also conducted a detailed heart ultrasound and multiple x-rays and this helps us establish a baseline, so in the future we can compare changes and identify any issues,” he said.
Sandali recovered well from the procedure and has settled back into the chimp habitat.
Chimpanzees have 32 teeth, just like humans. Sadly, they are listed as endangered to extinction on the IUCN Red List. Each time the public visit their primate pals at Monarto Safari Park, they’re supporting Zoos SA’s vital conservation work to save species for future generations.