The stage is set for the first-ever operation to fix prosthetic limb to a tiger in captivity at the Gorewada Rescue Centre here on Saturday.
This will be the first attempt anywhere in the world to fix a prosthetic limb to a tiger. The operation will be performed by renowned orthopaedic surgeon from University of Leeds Peter Giannoudis along with a team of surgeons from Nagpur ‘s Government Veterinary College led by Shirish Upadhye. Senior Forest Department officials will supervise the operation.
The tiger, named Sahebrao, has been in captivity for about seven years after it was rescued from a poachers’ trap in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district in 2012. After the rescue, his front left paw developed gangrene and had to be amputated. Since then, Sahebrao has been limping. In 2016, orthopaedic surgeon from Nagpur, Sushrut Babhulkar, offed to adopt Sahebrao and give him a prosthetic limb. He then reached out to experts around the world to explore the feasibility of the project. Since then, the project has passed through various stages to come to the final stage.
“The operation will start around 10 am and go on for about 90 minutes,” Babhulkar told The Indian Express. “The success, however, depends entirely on if and how Sahebrao accepts the prosthetic limb,” he added.
“The prosthesis has been manufactured in Nagpur from polymer composite from the inner side and reinforced carbon fibre from the outside,” Babhulkar said, adding, “If Sahebrao, now about nine-year old, accepts the limb, he will be able to live normally for the rest of his life.”
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