A badly injured tortoiseshell rides a lego wheelchair through the clinic at the maryland zoo in baltimore after armor surgery. The injured animal was found in a park by a zoo employee in july and brought to the clinic.
After the successful operation two months ago, the zoo team developed the unusual wheelchair together with a lego enthusiast friend of theirs. "The wheels allow the tortoiseshell maximum freedom of movement". The lego is light and changeable. This gives us room for maneuver," zoo director ellen bronson, who is responsible for animal health, told the german press agency.
"The tortoiseshell had a broken abdominal shell. It’s unusual for turtles to be injured only on the underside," bronson said. Since the intervention, the shell has been held together by metal plates, clamps and wires.
Bronson and her team are pleased with the healing process. Nevertheless, the complete healing will take about a year. "As long as the turtle remains with us. Then the animal will be released back into the park," said bronson. In the meantime, the tortoiseshell no longer needs medication and is preparing for hibernation. "She lives in the grapevine and is very active. Apart from the fractures, there is no difference to healthy animals."
Baltimore zoo conducts long-term studies and monitors wild turtle behavior. According to bronson, the zoo team had already discovered the then healthy tortoiseshell in 2000 and fitted it with a transmitter. Therefore the animal could be recognized now.