Emu-tional! Ostrich with just one leg jumping for joy after getting new prosthetic
An ostrich with a missing leg is now jumping for joy after having a prosthesis fitted by experts from Rzeszów.
The large flightless bird from Racławice Śląskie on the Czech border is the first in Poland, and may be the first in the world, to have such a leg fitted.
The prosthesis experts at the Rzeszow workshop received a phone call one day from a lady called Ania, whose neighbour Stanisław had three ostriches.
One had lost a leg in an accident and unable to bear seeing the bird suffer, she decided to take action.
“Animals don’t earn. They have no money, so it had to be done for free,” she said.
“When the bird tried to walk its body would slump down and the stump would get beaten on the grass of concrete,” said Mariusz Grela, the head of the prosthetics company. “Unfortunately, the stump was often bloody, which is a sad sight.”
Technicians from the Rzeszów Prosthetics Facility went down to take a plaster cast of the leg, which was no easy task with a wild bird the size of an ostrich. “It could have done us harm in self-defence,” said Tomasz Kot, one of the technicians that made the false leg.
The leg was made out of carbon fibre so it will be strong and not need regular servicing. The foot is made of rubber and the fixture is made of a soft substance to make it comfortable.
The prosthetics team had a wide range of uncertainties. Would the ostrich accept the prosthesis? Would it develop bad walking habits? Would the angles of the prosthesis be the same as the original leg?
A major hurdle was distance. With the workshop being in Rzeszów in the southeast of the country and the bird in need being in the southwest, the technicians had to make sure the prosthesis fitted first time.
To be on the safe side, they made two prostheses, just to be sure before travelling the 400km to Racławice Śląskie for the two-day fitting in late-July.
“The ‘ostrich action’ was a huge success,” said Mariusz Grela.
“Before leaving Rzeszów the technicians said: ‘we survived the measurement – we’ll survive putting the prosthesis on the ostrich’s leg.’ After mounting the prosthetic leg, the ostrich needed only a few minutes to start walking normally.
“I am very proud of my crew, and especially of the technicians: Tomasz Kot and Mateusz Irzyk.”