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World-first brain surgery performed on kākāpō parrot
The young chick is said to have made a ‘remarkable recovery’ from the surgery.

Endangered chick has made a ‘remarkable recovery’, vets say 

Vets in New Zealand have performed world-first brain surgery on an endangered kākāpō parrot, adapting techniques from human medicine.

The wild-hatched chick, now 60 days old, was born with a developmental problem of the skull.

Rangers from the department of conservation’s Kākāpō Recovery Team noticed an unusual lump on the bird’s skull just after hatching. A CT scan at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital revealed the plates of the skull had not completely fused.

Professor Brett Gartrell, director of Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital, said: “The chick was hatched with a hole in its skull that allowed part of the brain and dura (the tough barrier around the brain) to herniate out.”

Led by Prof Gartrell, a team of veterinary surgeons and technicians made an elliptical incision around the area and reflected a flap of skin, allowing them to dissect out the herniated dura.

They were unable to reduce the herniated tissue back into the skull so a small piece of brain and dura were clamped and a small square of synthetic mesh was sutured over the open fontanelle. The mesh graft was then infused with bone marrow.

The chick is said to have made a ‘remarkable recovery’ and has been paired up with another chick at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital, to reduce the risk of it imprinting on humans.

Image © Massey University

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.