Environment Science

Flamingo in Brazilian Zoo Gets Artificial Leg

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A flamingo in Brazil has been given an artificial leg in what zookeepers believe is a world first. The six-year-old Chilean flamingo at Sorocaba zoo fractured his left leg a month ago.

“To prevent infection from setting in and spreading, which would have killed him, we decided to amputate the leg,” said the zoo’s veterinarian, Andre Costa, who performed the surgery on the bird.

Costa said it was not known how the bird’s leg was injured, but that “perhaps one of the clumsy pelicans that share the enclosure crashed into him, or he was attacked by one of the crowned cranes”.

Since the bird would have had little chance of survival with one leg, the zoo decided to try an artificial one. The seven-inch carbon-fibre limb was donated by a local prosthetics manufacturer. Within days, the flamingo was adjusting nicely to his new leg – even tucking it under his body in the classic flamingo pose.

Costa said the bird was being kept apart from the other 28 flamingoes and would be reintroduced to the flock by degrees. “The other birds might see the prosthesis as an object to be attacked,” he said. “They may shun or attack, and even kill him.”

See video here http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-33160457

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“Flamingo in Brazilian Zoo Gets Artificial Leg”