A cygnet has undergone major surgery to repair its battered bill, and is now on the road to recovery, thanks to wildlife sanctuary staff and a top avian vet.

A cygnet has undergone major surgery to repair its battered bill, and is now on the road to recovery, thanks to wildlife sanctuary staff and a top avian vet.

The cygnet before its operationThe bird was pick up by the Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) in Epsom, with injuries so severe it could not eat or groom properly. At the time it was with its mother and siblings, but WAF staff decided to isolate it and bring it in for surgery to give it a chance at survival.

It was then patched up by zoo specialist Neil Forbes at WAF’s wildlife centre in Leatherhead.     

Mr Forbes said: “Without intervention this cygnet was sadly destined to a very premature death. But keeping a defective wild animal in long-term care, simply because it cannot survive in the wild, is, in my view, morally wrong.

“However, if a surgical procedure can be carried out, during which process the patient does not suffer unnecessarily, where there is a realistic chance the animal will then regain normal or at least adequate health for return to the wild with a good chance of long-term survival, it seems wholly appropriate to carry out the procedure.

The bird while Neil was working on it“In this case, having made a full assessment, we anaesthetised the cygnet, cut the mandible (the bone in its lower beak) on the right, and then fixed it with external fixation pins attached to an osteogenic distractor. This equipment allowed us to extend the right mandible back to its intended length, so that the beak went back to approximately the normal position.”

The animal is now making a strong recovery and WAF is appealing for donations to help with the bird’s medication while it remains at the centre.

WAF RVN Lucy Kells said: “We are pleased to report the cygnet has recovered well from the operation. It is even grooming now, which is something it struggled with before the surgery.  

“But it now needs daily intensive care and medication here at WAF to assist recovery, which will still take many weeks. The medicine is expensive and we would be extremely appreciative of any donations that will assist us in the purchase of the things that the cygnet needs.”

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