The whooping crane first came to the LSU SVM for evaluation, and doctors found that the bird had a left coracoid fracture. Katrin Saile, DVM (LSU SVM 2006), MS, DACVS, assistant professor of companion animal surgery, reduced the fracture and stabilized it by inserting a bone plate. Dr. Saile was assisted by Dr. James Wignall, companion animal surgery resident; Dr. Joao Brandao, zoological medicine resident; Dr. Renee-Claire Malenfant, companion animal surgery fellow; and Jessica Khodadad, fourth-year veterinary student. The surgery took approximately two hours.
According to Zimorski, “After recovering from the surgery, whooping crane L14-11 was brought back to the release pen site at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WLWCA). She was kept separate and on dry ground in order to keep her incision site clean and dry.”
On Thursday, February 2, Dr. Javier Nevarez (LSU SVM 2001), assistant professor of zoological medicine, and Dr. James LaCour (LSU SVM 1991), LDWF veterinarian, traveled to the WLWCA to examine the whooping crane. “She’s doing well and has started eating again,” said Dr. Nevarez.
Added Zimorski, “When the veterinarians came down to check on her, she looked good and was transferred back to the main release pen with the other birds. Her attitude has improved a great deal.”
Whooping cranes are an endangered species, and the LDWF is working cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to restore the whooping crane within Louisiana. Project funding is derived from LDWF species restoration dedicated funds, federal grants and private/corporate donations. For more information on the project and on L14-11’s continued recovery please visit LDWFs website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes.