An eight-year old gorilla living in a French animal park fell out of a tree and broke her femur near the top. She was in a lot of pain and could not use her leg. A visitor witnessed the accident and then told gorilla handlers. At first it was not clear if the problem was the foot or the leg. Kwanza was put to sleep so a non-invasive scan could be used to identify the injury.
The regular vets were unsure of what to do, as they were not trained to do the kind of operation needed. Eventually they contacted some orthopedic surgeons who visited Kwanza and determined surgery was necessary to repair the broken femur. The surgeons, who were from Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Poitiers, performed the surgery at a veterinary clinic. Dr. Louis-Etienne Gayet and a surgical team operated for three hours. A six inch plate and 3.5 inch screw were used to reattach the bones.
It will be about six weeks before vets can tell if the bones are knitting in a healthy fashion. Meanwhile Kwanza is able to crawl around. She lives in the park called the Valley of the Monkeys, which has about 30 species of primates. Their website says, “Biodiversity is the richness of everything that surrounds us and which we are so used, it has become invisible. Biodiversity is our most precious heritage common to all living beings on the planet, what we need above all to secure.” They are located about 200 miles from Paris.
Image Credit: Valle de Singes