When a veterinarian nurse in New South Wales found a baby koala in 2017, the animal only had three feet, hampering it from walking and climbing freely. But recently, the male koala, named Triumph, has been climbing and running happily thanks to a prosthetic made by a neighborhood dentist.
Marley Christian, the nurse who found Triumph and is also his primary carer now thought she had tried everything to help the animal walk again. A US company specializing in animal prosthesis even tried to create a foot for Triumph but was unsuccessful after several attempts.
Then, Christian’s local dentist, Jon Doulman, stepped up and created a pink prosthetic boot that uses a velcro strap to stay secured on Triumph’s leg. The prosthetic also features a “tread” on the bottom that helps the marsupial grip while walking or climbing.
“Once I put the little boot on him and he did this little jump, then he was running around and climbing, I actually cried,” said Christian, explaining how Triumph became a whole new koala once the prosthesis was attached. “It’s the best thing that ever happened, I would do absolutely anything for this boy.”
Currently, Doulman is working to improve his design for Triumph, although the koala “seems to be quite comfortable wearing it.” In any case, it’s fantastic to see every day people come up with innovative designs to help struggling animals.
“It required a bit of lateral thinking in so far as coming up with the design … but it was a great feeling to be able to help him.”