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SOS Rhino : In the News : Current Rhino News : Tripod gets a fourth leg

Tripod gets a fourth leg

  Liela Magnus
12 December 2002

Johannesburg - Tripod, the three-legged white rhino, lost his left hind foot in a trap when he was six months old. But he will soon have an extra leg to stand on.

Karen Trendler of the Wildcare Rehabilitation Centre outside Pretoria said on Thursday Tripod was having difficulty standing and moving about lately.

His right hind leg has bowed under the pressure of his great weight, and the centre has decided to step in to ease his pain and discomfort.

Threndler said: "The right leg gave way and the knee is inflamed. Tripod is in pain, and his condition has deteriorated during the past eight weeks."

Marcel Rocher, a mining equipment manufacturer, heard about Tripod's misery and offered to manufacture an artificial foot.

He will make a fibreglass foot and sheath to fit over the stump of the rhino's amputated leg. The foot will be secured with screws to the sheath.

"One must be able to remove the foot and replace it with a new one with a longer leg-section as the animal grows. This will take the pressure off the right leg and give it a chance to heal."

The foot will have to be replaced every six months.

The Transvaal Museum in Pretoria was requested to make a cast of the foot of a stuffed rhinoceros.

Since Wildcare depends on donations, Faan Swanepoel, the director of the company Ventrade, promised to supply the materials needed for the new foot, which should be ready to be fit early next year.

Big game veterinary surgeon Douw Grobler says he believes the process has a very good chance of being successful.

And while the vets were about it, the removed a piece of Tripod's horn, which was growing inwards. Staff feared that the condition might discomfort the animal at a later stage.



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