I think that most people have loved seeing Koala on TV, and, if in Australia, they loved seeing them in the wild. Due to the recent brush fires that cost the lives of so many of those animals, they occupy an even larger part of our hearts.
Perhaps that is why the story of a koala joey from Linsmore in New South Wales has captured the attention of the world. ABC News reported that the joey was found next to his mother, who was dying.
Unfortunately, that little joey, that they named Triumph, didn’t stand much of a chance due to a birth defect that left him without one of his feet. A protruding bone was all that existed in the area.
Triumph was taken in by a kind-hearted nurse from Friends of the Koala, Marley Christian. She began taking care of the little koala and nursed him back to health. In fact, she has done such a good job that Triumph is now 5-years-old.
One of the biggest concerns for Triumph was the protruding bone. It caused him a considerable amount of pain so Marley started using booties or socks to cut down on the pressure he was putting on it when he walked.
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Her efforts helped, but they weren’t enough to make him truly comfortable. That is when Marley started looking for someone that could make a prosthetic limb.
There are plenty of companies that make prosthetic limbs but none that had made them for a koala. In fact, one company in the United States told her that it had not been done and “could not be done.”
Rather than turning to a company across the ocean, she looked to a dentist in her own neighborhood. Jon Doulman is a dental prosthetist and, according to Reuters, he was willing to step up to the plate and help the koala.
The solution Doulman came up with is nothing sort of brilliant. He created an artificial foot using some rubber tread and a velcro strap. He admitted it was “different” but he said it felt great to help Triumph. He is still working on the design to see if he can come up with something even better.
Christian said to Reuters: “Once I put the little boot on him and he did this little jump, then he was running around and climbing, I actually cried. Triumph became a whole new koala once the prosthesis was attached.”
ABC News reported that an unexpected benefit of the new foot was that it stopped the curvature that was taking place in his spine. After the pain of walking on the stump was eased, he began walking in a more natural way.
Triumph will not be released into the wild because his birth defect would put him in danger. Then again, he is happy living with Christian taking care of him and even treats her like a female koala. ABC reported that she said, “He treats me like a female koala … he bites me, bellows, and wees on me, but that’s part and parcel of the whole thing.”
Thanks to the efforts of one special doctor, he is climbing trees and running around on four paws. It’s amazing when someone comes in and makes a difference.Whizzco