At the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., zookeepers perform a series of in-depth checks to ensure that each of the eight female Asian elephants are in good health.
Every morning, Marie Galloway, the lead elephant keeper at the Zoo, bathes the elephants and then leads them in an engaging training exercise.
“The very most basic thing that we do is this healthy check,” Galloway said. “We look all over their bodies, look at their feet, in their mouths.”
By encouraging the elephants to perform during training, Galloway can play the role of doctor by discovering irregularities in their physical makeup.
“Here at the zoo, the elephant’s nutrition is so great, that that foot is a callus pad. It grows continuously,” Galloway said in regards to an elephant’s foot pad.
By constantly checking the elephant’s foot, she is able to measure its nutrition intake and physical capabilities.