This adorable eight-foot giraffe calf with a life-threatening broken leg is now able to walk properly again thanks to a welder, also pictured, who used metal rods to mend it.
Yang Jijun, 53, was brought in by Jiuniu Lake Wild Animal Park in Nanjing, capital of East China’s Jiangsu Province, as well as the city’s Animal Medical Center to assist in the rare case, which is the country’s first.
Video Credit: AsiaWire
The patient, a two-year-old male calf, had arrived in China from Africa half a year ago, but recently broken its left hind leg after tripping on another giraffe in its enclosure.
With the 2.6-metre (8-foot 6-inch), half-tonne giraffe unable to stand or walk properly, the injury was posing a real threat to its life until experts decided to attempt the operation on 13th May.
In a four-hour surgery led by animal orthopaedic specialist Dong Yingbo, no fewer than 10 nail-like metal rods were placed into and around the giraffe’s broken leg as the animal was kept steady inside a metal and wooden frame.
The rods had to be made to order and were welded together by Yang in order to assist in the healing of the giraffe’s 9-centimetre (3.5-inch) long fracture.
However, the procedure proved to be tricky as the impatient giraffe often kicked out and broke the work done by the tradesman.
Yang said: “I have welded metal to everything from stainless steel to marble walls, but this is my first time working on a giraffe.
“I was very excited, but I was also confident and wanted to do it right.”
Orthopaedic expert Dong said the giraffe calf would be observed for two to three weeks, with the major concern being postoperative infections.
Dong said, unlikely most other animals, a giraffe can die with a broken leg.