How do you take a bison's temperature?
Or check an elk's pulse? Ask Tolani Francisco. Tolani is an animal
doctor, but she's not the kind you're likely to visit when your
dog or cat is sick. Tolani is a wildlife veterinarian. Most of
her patients are big animals such as bison and elk. Some of these
animals weigh as much as a pickup truck. How does a doctor get
a powerful bison to stand still for a check up? As you can imagine,
being a wildlife vet is a BIG challenge.
Tolani meets that challenge head on. She looks into a bison's
mouth and listens to an elk's heartbeat just like any doctor.
The difference is that her patients don't come to her. She goes
To visit her animal patients, Tolani drives her trusty jeep around
the wrinkled hills of New Mexico and Arizona. The trunk of her
jeep is full of medical tools and supplies. She carries a stethoscope
to listen to an animal's heart, lungs, and stomach, needles to
give medicine or take blood, blankets to cover the animal, soft
cotton ropes to hold an animal still, and a twitch for the especially
difficult ones. Tolani also has lots of thermometers to take an
animal's body temperature. Her thermometers don't go into the
mouth, they go under the tail, and so she has to have a clean
one for each animal.
Tolani's main responsibility is to protect the health of bison
and elk that live on animal reserves. She also visits farms and
ranches to check on cattle and other livestock. Tolani loves her
job, not only because she loves animals, but also because she
enjoys being outdoors and traveling through the countryside. Every
day is a big adventure.
(excerpted from the biography written by Sarah Disbrow. The entire
biography is available on the Vet Detective CD-ROM.)