We got to spend an afternoon with the medical team at ZooParc de Beauval in France to check out what a day can be like at the clinic. And one thing that really makes a difference for the team is having good surgical lights, preferable so good that they can actually forget that it’s there during surgery.
How does cuddling with koalas, swimming with exotic jellyfishes or playing with a giant panda sound like? This is the reality and everyday work life for the staff at ZooParc de Beauval, one of Europe’s largest zoological parks located close to the Loire valley castles and Getinge’s surgical lights factory in Ardon.
Except of all the zoo keepers, there are four veterinarians and three nurses who provide care for the 600 species that populates the zoo. Last year a new veterinary clinic opened up here and both the examination room and operating room (OR) are equipped with Getinge’s surgical lights.
“Having good lights in the clinic makes all the difference. Otherwise you could spend hours with the animals without being able to see what you actually need to do,” says Baptiste Mulot who has been working as zoo veterinarian for 14 years.
It was actually Baptiste’s childhood dream to become one and he loves working with all the species.
“Crocodiles, monkeys, elephants – you name it. They are all still wild animals and our job is to make sure they stay safe and in good conditions here at the zoo,” says Baptiste. “Another fantastic aspect of my job is that I get to fight for the preservation of animals that are threatened to be endangered.”
Today the clinic is quite busy. A zoo keeper just brought a Ross’s Turaco in with short notice. He was found unable to walk and Baptiste and the team quickly put him on anesthesia and examine him.
In the meantime Nicolas Goddard, who has been a veterinarian at the zoo for nine months, takes one of his daily rounds to check on the animals that are still in recovery.
“This little raccoon had a tumor that we removed a month ago. She caught an infection afterwards but is getting much better now. We expect to have her back with her friends in no time,” tells Nicolas.
There is also a goat with a broken leg, a lizard that refuses to eat and a Burmese python that had to undergo surgery after being in a fight.
“He should have thought about that twice,” says Nicolas with a smile. “Now he is stuck with us at the clinic for about three more weeks before we can remove the stitches.”
Baptiste and the others are ready with the examination of the Ross’s Turaco and it seems to be in need of surgery.
“Veterinarians are not the most popular staff at the zoo, you know. The animals associate us with the clinic so they are a bit afraid of us even if we are here to help.”
The worst thing is when they arrive in the morning and an animal is found dead, even if it happens rarely. One of the worst moments was when Josef, a giraffe that was highly loved by everyone, suddenly died.
“If you had a bad day you could always go see Josef. He was so kind to everyone and it was a big loss when he passed away,” tells Baptiste.
He is of course much happier when they get to rescue the animals and make them feel better, but still that is routine work. His absolute favorite moments at the zoo are the more rare moments – the births of exotic animals such as rhinos, elephants and giant pandas.
“It is wonderful but also very time consuming. The last time we were expecting a new elephant baby we slept in their habitat for two months to supervise and make sure everything preceded in a controlled way. When the baby finally came we were extremely happy, but exhausted.”
The babies are always born in their habitats but all surgeries are done at the clinic. In the examination room there is a double configuration of LUCEA 50 and in the OR a Maquet PowerLED I.
“We do the adjustments of the lights before surgery and then we can actually forget about it and focus fully on the surgery. It just works, and it is very ergonomic too,” explains Baptiste.
It is time for the Ross’s Turaco to enter the OR and we have lingered long enough at the clinic. Even though it would be interesting to stay for a few more hours it is time to let Baptiste, Nicolas and the rest of the team to do what they do best without our interruption – caring for the precious animals of the zoo.
Learn more about Getinge's surgical lights.