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Saturday, 3 November 2007

image for U.S. Doctors Separate Conjoined Twin Pygmy Elephants

San Diego Wild Animal Park - Two California doctors worked feverishly over the weekend to separate a pair of critically endangered Borneo Elephants that were born as conjoined twins.

Dr. Steve Trevor and Dr. Martin Ramirez, who themselves are conjoined twins (but not to one another), explained: "We prefer not to use the term 'Siamese twins' because that is derogatory -- no offense to actual Siamese twins."

The pygmy elephants, nicknamed "Chang" and "Eng", were rescued from a neglectful traveling circus after they were found wandering around a See's candy store parking lot in search of peanut brittle scraps. They were airlifted to their final destination by helicopter in what must have been a scenic yet breathtaking ride.

During the procedure, each pygmy elephant was supported on a forklift as the doctors worked to separate them. Now in recovery, "Chang" will likely be on kidney dialysis for the remainder of his life while "Eng" must rely on an artificial trunk and fake tusks.

"Our goal is to put the United States on the map as a legitimate destination for medical tourism," explained Dr. Trevor, "...especially for exotic animals."

While the U.S. is not generally considered a 'medical tourism' hotspot -- due to the fact that it has some of the highest healthcare costs in the world per capita -- all of that could change after this first-of-its-kind surgery.

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