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Big Picture

Bird gets a leg up

A pink flamingo at Sao Paolo's Sorocaba Zoo is learning to navigate the world with a brand-new prosthetic leg.

The six-year-old bird's leg was amputated to prevent infection after a severe fracture.

Though it is still limping a bit, staff at the zoo in Brazil say that

the Chilean bird has already mastered standing on one foot while tucking the prosthetic leg up tight under its pink body.

Zoo veterinarian Andre Costa said: "The flamingo is slowly getting physically rehabilitated, with the muscles in the legs getting stronger, so it can join the group."

The bird had little chance of survival with one leg, so the zoo decided to try the artificial leg using an 18cm carbon limb donated by a local prosthesis manufacturer.

The zoo does not know how the bird was injured, but a pelican may have collided with the flamingo, or it may have been attacked by an aggressive crowned crane in the same enclosure, said the Associated Press.

Mr Costa said the bird would be kept apart from the other 28 flamingos in the zoo for now, and gradually reintroduced. He fears that the others may see the artificial leg as an object to be attacked and end up shunning or killing the bird.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'Bird gets a leg up'. Print Edition | Subscribe