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GORE-TEX(R) Hong Kong Team Comes to The Rescue of Zoo Elepha

发布时间:2018-11-06 09:37 作者:AG88 来源:admin 点击: 字号:


HONG KONG, Dec. 16 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- The GORE-TEX(R) Hong Kong team came to the rescue of two of Singapore Zoo’s Asian elephants in need of special footwear. The intensive year-long effort by the zoo and W. L. Gore & Associates, creators of the legendary GORE-TEX(R) fabric, recently culminated in the elephants being presented with comfortable yet protective footwear to help with their ongoing foot problems.

(Photo: http://xprnnews.xfn.info/catchon/20071216/HK077558.htm )

As the world’s largest land animal, elephants naturally place an enormous amount of stress on their feet. Due to a bad stumble a number of years ago, Tun, the younger of the two elephants, has one front leg longer than the others. As a result, she limps painfully and the extra pressure she places on the shorter front leg has created lesions on the sole of this foot. Meanwhile, 30-year-old Jamilah has lesions on the soles of both her front feet owing to her habit of swaying from side to side.

As Singapore Zoo veterinarian, Dr Sonja Luz explains, treatment has been difficult. "Try asking an elephant to take some weight off for a while," she jokes. Dr Luz’s team began thinking about ways to protect the elephant’s bandages so that the lesions had time to heal. Tun’s unbalanced walk also had to be addressed if she was to have a chance of full recovery.

"The best solution we could think of was some type of protective boot that was durable enough for elephant wear-and-tear and possibly also waterproof, it had to be made from a material that allowed the wound to breathe to prevent fungal infections. Most importantly, it would also provide comfort to the elephant."

"GORE-TEX(R) fabric immediately came to mind," she says. In December 2006, Dr Luz contacted W. L. Gore & Associates in Hong Kong to seek expert advice on whether the breathable, waterproof technology of GORE-TEX(R) footwear could possibly be adapted to footwear solutions for the elephants. The project immediately captured the hearts and minds of the product development team.

Led by GORE-TEX(R) footwear specialists Raymond Lee and CK Yau, development work began soon after. Surprisingly it wasn’t the first time such an unusual assignment had been accepted. In fact, Gore’s unique corporate culture enables and encourages associate to take advantage of opportunities to think laterally and creatively.

"It is one of the advantages of working at Gore," says Lee. "With Tun and Jamilah, we had the opportunity to use our expertise and equipment to make a real difference in their quality of life."

Understandably the project had a number of fundamental challenges. Measuring the size and shape of the elephants’ feet was the first. Dr Luz also had to calculate the difference in length between Tun’s left and right front legs so that elevation could be built into her shoe.

"Elephants rarely lie down so we couldn’t get a good mould of Tun or Jamilah’s feet without anaesthetising them which we prefer not to do. Instead we manually took measurements and made a number of plaster casts for the

GORE-TEX(R) brand team in Hong Kong to start working with."

While the size was certainly abnormally large, Lee soon discovered that an elephant’s foot behaves very differently from a human’s foot in terms of weight, balance and the way they walk. "A foot of an elephant it is very unlike that of a human’s -- they weren’t designed with shoes in mind," says Lee. "They’re shaped like a stump which means the shoe has few places to really grab on to."

Lee also soon learnt that the size of an elephant’s foot increases by a few centimetres on contact with the ground. "We had to devise a boot that was big enough to accommodate this size increase but small enough so that it would not be too loose at other times."

Comfort was yet another vitally important consideration.

"Elephants are incredibly intelligent. If the shoes are uncomfortable, they will quickly work out how to take the shoes off. Zippers are unfortunately only a temporary challenge," says

Dr Luz.

Over the 12 month period, many prototypes were developed and trialed on the elephants to ensure the best possible fit. Velcro, zippers and even wire laces were all used to fasten the shoe. Metres of GORE-TEX(R) fabric later, Tun and Jamilah are now set to receive their custom-made boots just in time for Christmas.

"As a vet, my passion is to make the lives of animals better," says Dr Luz. "Going into this project, I always knew there was a possibility that it would fail but I always felt it was important that we at least gave it a try. That the GORE-TEX(R) brand team has supported our efforts so passionately is a fantastic vote of confidence."

W. L. Gore & Associates Asia Pacific Marketing Leader Samuel Chong is proud of the work his team in Hong Kong has accomplished. "At W. L. Gore & Associates, we take our reputation for product leadership seriously, continually delivering new products and better solutions to the world. It’s what makes our GORE-TEX(R) brand a leader in the development of technical garments. Looking towards the future, it is projects like this one at the Singapore Zoo that will continue to define what makes us unique and keep improving the world we are all living in." GORE-TEX(R) products and designs are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates.

For further information, interviews and images please contact:

Angela Wong / Emma French

CatchOn & Co. LtAAAAAAAA> Tel: +852-2566-8988

Email: angela@catchonco.com/ emma@catchonco.com

Photo Credit: Singapore Zoo

本文源自: 环亚娱乐

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