AHMEDABAD: The Bidada Sarvodaya Trust, based in Kutch, and Jaya Rehabilitation Institute, organizations that have provided prosthetic limbs to a large number of survivors of devastating 2001 earthquake, recently received a strange request — a US-based animal care facility wanted the experts to make a prosthetic leg for a turkey bird to get it on its feet again.
“Right leg of the bird had to be amputated after an injury and the bird, who eventually goes back to the wild, cannot survive. Thus, it was a challenge for us to provide a leg that would be fit for a bird – it should be very light-weight, waterproof and durable. Another challenge was that the bird was in the US and we had to make the leg on the basis of the photographs and measurements provided by the officials at WJH Bird Resources, a swan and waterfowl sanctuary located in Billings, Montana,” said Mukesh Doshi, director of Jaya Rehabilitation Institute.
The end result, however, was satisfactory as the bird was fitted recently with the leg weighing 75 grams. “Length of the leg is kept adjustable. The weight can also be reduced to 50 grams. We will surely await the response by the bird. We have earlier fitted prosthetic limbs to animals such as cows in Gujarat. However, it was our first experiment of a limb being sent abroad,” said Doshi.
The bird will be released to a zoo in Montana where it would be part of a flock of turkeys, said trust officials. Officials added that the prosthetic technology has got much improved compared to 2001 where a large population of Kutch needed the limbs after the earthquake. “Prosthetics for animals and birds, however, is not as popular as they take some time to get adjusted to the appendage and if it is not a good fit, it proves to be counter-productive,” said a trust official.