A Small Bundle of Energy on Three Legs!
Living in the wild comes with its share of challenges: finding food and shelter, to be able to defend oneself require constant attention. To survive, there is no room for weaknesses, or else, you could end up being the next meal of the more opportunistic!
In a zoo environment, the animals in our care benefit from an important advantage over their counterparts in the wild: access to a veterinary team! Many injuries, conditions or illnesses that would have fatal outcomes in the wild are quickly identified and treated, allowing animals to continue their activities and get a second chance to enjoy a full life.
The most recent addition to our Goeldi's marmosets, an adorable little tree-dwelling primate living with her family clan is among these privileged ones.
Born on September 14, 2022, the young female was found one morning with her leg in an abnormal position. Not having witnessed the incident, the sector's animal care technicians could only assume it was due to a bad fall.
She was quickly referred to the veterinary hospital where they diagnosed that she had a dislocated hip and multiple fractures to her right hind leg.
Given the extent of her injuries, amputating her limb became the only possible therapeutic option. From a humane point of view, amputation may seem extreme, but for many animals this procedure could not only save their life, it can also eliminate a major source of pain. Then the animal’s rehabilitation process gets underway, and learning to live a new life with a missing limb!
Animals quickly regain their balance by adopting the tripod strategy, positioning the remaining limb (front or back) in the centre of the body, for greater stability. Those with a long tail will have an advantage since it often helps to maintain its owner's balance when moving about (e.g., squirrels, felines, foxes, etc.).
Our young marmoset was just beginning to explore the world on her own, away from the comfort of her mother's back on which she had clung throughout her first weeks of life.
The result: Her recovery was swift and she now moves around as quickly and easily as the other members of the clan.
The body is an amazing, highly resourceful machine which, when placed in a new situation, will be inclined to want to adapt.
This small primate is not the only three-legged celebrity in the zoological world.
In October 2019, the Oklahoma City Zoo veterinary team proceeded with amputating a leg on a baby panda born with a malformation on one of its limbs.
As for the Pittsburgh Zoo, the team was quite happy with Floppy, a wingless penguin’s reintegration into its group in September 2021. By installing a ramp, the bird is able to carry out all of its activities.
Nigel, Lincolnshire Wildlife Park's three-legged puma, was followed by more than 13,000 fans during his rehabilitation. Severe arthritis problems had prompted the care team to opt for this procedure.
Many people are probably unaware of this fact, but nearly 70 years ago, the story of the Zoo de Granby began with its founder, Mr. Horace Boivin, his love of animals and... a three-legged goat, which he had rescued and kept in what was then his small sanctuary!
Although their condition might surprise us at first glance, we can only admire these resilient animals. They’re truly forces of nature!