The first prosthetic leg replacement procedure for an Arabian Tahr has been carried out in Oman by an Omani veterinary team, the first such surgery successfully performed in the Arab World. The procedure is rarely attempted, particularly on a wild animal.
According to a statement released by the Oman News Agency, the veterinary team of the General Directorate of Veterinary Services at the Royal Court Affairs carried out the procedure on a wounded Tahr after its hind leg was severely fractured, causing irreparable damage to its tissue and blood supply.
Following partial amputation, the animal was fitted with an artificial limb designed to be directly stabilised by remaining leg bone, which allowed for more efficient functionality over time, in the wild.
Gentle herbivores, Tahrs live in small family groups of two or three animals. The species is diurnal, grazing in the early morning and late afternoon. Although it can survive long periods without drinking if good vegetation is available, in summer it will come down to drink every two or three days.
The Arabian Tahr is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) among its list of endangered animals. The entire world population of Arabian tahr – estimated at fewer than 5,000 animals – live in the mountains of northern Oman and the United Arab Emirates. While some populations may have increased through protection from hunting and poaching, overall it is likely that the species continues to decline.
Kudos to the dedicated doctors who have put their imprint on the survival of this species.
If you are a wild animal veterinarian you might like to know how the procedure was done. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, released a report on how it was done.