In a first of its kind of attempt in the world to provide a prosthetic limb to the 8 year old tiger Sahebrao,a team of orthopedic surgeons Shushrut Babhulkar, veterinary doctor Shirish Upadhyay, medical personnel from Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Science University (MAFSU) and experts from IIT-Bombay and abroad have collaborated over the past two years on the project.
On Saturday, the final part of the mission to place a prosthetic limb to Sahebrao was performed in which the team tried to fit a prosthetic limb which has been specially designed after consultation with an international platform of medical experts.
“The final part of the mission to make tiger pain free failed as the tiger squeezed his entire body to such extent in the process that the prosthetic limb came out”, informed Dr Shushrut Babhulkar in a press conference organized at Van Bhavan on January 18.
Dr Babhulkar explained the entire process in which he informed that the Felidae mammal family also known as Cat Species have a special feature where they can shrink their entire body. The same happened today with Sahebrao while we were operating him. Even earlier when Sahebrao was under Anesthesia he banged his operated limb on the table. These two points are the major reason why we were not able to apply the limb on the tiger”.
He further added that “after 24 to 48 hours we will again try to fit the prosthetic limb”.
“When I first saw it in 2018, Sahebrao was unable to walk and would constantly growl in pain. As part of the procedure we took X-rays, measurement etc and after that we operated on a nerve that was giving the tiger pain,” Dr Babhulkar informed.
The dislocation of one its joints was treated next as was the fracture that was not healing for a long time. We are happy that the tiger is free from the pain and will again try to fit the prosthetic limb. He added.
The front left paw of Sahebrao was amputated after it got entangled in a steel trap set by poachers in 2012.