IT NEEDED an urgent trunk call to a top London dentist when Merseyside's most lovesick elephant realised his chat-up techniques were too painful.
Young male Nissim, a resident at Knowsley Safari Park, pushed his luck with the older female elephants. The 12-year-old suffered damage to his tusks after being given the brush-off by his future female partners as he tried to arrange a hot date.
It meant dentist Peter Kertesz having to swap his West End clinic for the safari park to carry out emergency treatment on Nissim's broken tusks.
The African bull elephant needed the treatment – the equivalent of a human root canal filling – on a mammoth scale after losing a large part of a tusk while trying to assert his authority on his future wives.
Safari park bosses immediately called in expert Mr Kertesz. It was realised the risk of serious infection from an untreated injury was high, and was potentially fatal.
Mr Kertesz treats humans from Monday to Thursday, and then attends to the needs of his four-legged patients on Fridays.
He travelled to Merseyside to perform the2½-hour procedure on Nissim. First the spurned teenage lover was put to sleep to enable the operation to be carried out under anaesthetic.
The task of curing the tusks involved a team of vets and safari park staff, as well as the dentist.
Fortunately, only a few inches of infection was discovered in the pulp in the centre of the broken tusk, which Mr Kertesz was able to remove before trimming the tusk down and plugging the hole with a specially-made threaded nylon bolt.
Before long, Nissim was up and about again, a little bewildered to begin with, but doing remarkably well under the circumstances.