Tusko, the Oregon Zoo elephant, is finally tuskless.

The big 35-year-old bull elephant broke both his tusks during the late 1970s. His right tusk was removed when he was a young elephant. But his left one remained, and was a source of infections. It could have been a source of more. “Bacteria build up in the wound and may enter the bloodstream”, according to lead veterinarian Mitch Finnegan. “This can cause heart problems.”

On February 17th, surgeons set about removing that broken, rotting tusk. The delicate, all-day operation succeeded in removing most, but not all of it.

Sunday, a four-hour operation finished the job. Surgeons used new drills and chisels, and the tusk is gone. Tusko has been awakend from his anaesthesia, and is expected to fully recover, though slowly; the entire recovery process could take up to a year. Zookeepers point out, however, that Tusko’s overall condition should continue improving as that wound heals and fills in.