Saturday 12th March 2011
There is always a first for everything, even if you have been doing this job for 15 years like I have. Even David the Collection Manager in his 45 years of zoo experience had never come across anything like it. One of our ‘characters’; ‘Atlas’ the female European Eagle Owl in the Main Display suffered a prolapsed egg sack. This is the bird equivalent of a mammal’s womb. I picked her up on Tuesday. She was sat on the ground in the corner of the aviary, and even when I went close she wouldn’t move. This was a sign that something wasn’t quite right. Both I and Michelle went in, and I proceeded to catch her up, which wasn’t hard. As soon as I did this, the reason for her behaviour became apparent; a big red tennis ball was protruding from her backside. She was rushed to the vet’s at Galemire Veterinary hospital at Moor Row near Whitehaven. Where our vet Ian Hunter proceeded to operate on her. Atlas was put under general anaesthetic and had her prolapsed cleaned up. Ian Hunter then proceeded to push the prolapsed back inside her. When he was satisfied it was back in position he put a continuous stitch all round her anus and pulled it tight enough to keep the prolapsed in place but with enough slack to allow her to defecate. This made me cringe, and on awakening, it must have been very sore. Ian Hunter said that the situation was a bit like having an old baggy sock pushed into her nether region, and that this could possibly cause a lethal infection. He said that if she survives the next two days, her chances of survival start to improve after that. I’m happy to say she is still alive, and all being well, she can come back to the Centre to complete her convalescence on Tuesday. Fingers crossed.
On a different subject, I have two juvenile Hedgehogs at home who have overwintered there, as they were born too late last season to have enough weight to survive hibernation. I’m happy to say I’m pretty sure both of them survived, as they have started to eat me out of house and home. Every morning I have to tidy up their enclosure, where their feed saucers and water dishes have been thrown about. I think I am dealing with a pair of ‘spiky juvenile delinquents’. All being well, they will be released next month.
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|World Owl Trust
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The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.