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Last sync:2022-11-23 07:30
Zeema the keel billed toucan has had a rough beginning to her life. She came to Animal Wonders with a broken leg, respiratory infection, and chopped off flight feathers. It's taken a lot of work to get her healthy and she's still on her journey to a full recovery. Here's an update on why she needed a second surgery and how she's doing now.

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Hello and welcome back to Animal Wonders!

I'm Jessi and this is Zeema the keel-billed toucan. Today we're going to do a little update on how she's been doing. [CHEERY INTRO MUSIC].

So the last time Zeema was on camera, she'd just had leg surgery. That was about 6 months ago, and since then quite a bit has happened. It was supposed to take 6-8 weeks for her to recover from surgery.

And it was a pretty rough first week for her, she felt pretty icky, but by the next week she was doing much better. She had an internal pin in her leg and an exterior brace, and those were helping her heal. Unfortunately, at 8 weeks her bones still hadn't healed enough to remove the pin inside or the brace from the outside.

We were thinking that the brace was just too big making it too awkward for her to walk around, so she wasn't using it much. So we adjusted it, making it smaller to see if she would use her leg more, which would then stimulate bone growth and healing. And then it was back to the waiting game.

At 12 weeks, Zeema's bones still hadn't fused together. We took her in for an X-ray to see what was happening. And we found out that the two leg bones that were held together by the pin running between them had sealed off and the ends were no longer growing at all.

To fix this, she needed another surgery to get the two pieces of leg bone growing again. And she needed a bone graft from her keel bone which is in her chest. Luckily, it was a successful surgery and there was no more external brace!

It's been about 2 months since her second surgery, and Zeema is feeling much better. Would you like a blueberry? There you go!

They're delicious, huh? Now even though she's feeling much better, she still isn't using her leg appropriately. You can see that she avoids putting too much weight on it.

You see how she's tilted to the right there? And she actually feels really unstable on my arm. So right now I'm working with her so she can find her confidence again.

I want Zeema to feel safe when she's perched on my hand or arm because when she feels unstable she gets nervous and does what I call "bailing out." When she bails, she basically just jumps off my hand onto the ground. This normally wouldn't be an issue for a bird that could fly, but Zeema can't fly so she hits the ground too hard. If you followed Zeema's story, you'll know that we were teaching her to fly when she was younger.

But the reason she can't fly right now is because during her recovery, she used her wings to help maneuver around, and she ended up hitting them repeatedly on the ground, on her perches, and her walls. So she ended up breaking off all of her flight feathers on one wing and her tail feathers are looking pretty ratty as well. It's not the prettiest look, but I'm actually more excited to see that she wants to hop around and investigate and play with her toys.

It's been a while since she was feeling this good, and I'm so happy to see her having fun. So having tattered wing and tail feathers is just going to be something she has for awhile. My hope is that as her leg continues to heal, she'll feel more comfortable hopping with just her legs and she'll stop flapping her wings against the ground and they'll grow back nice and sleek.

Now that Zeema's spirits are up, I'm loving getting her out to play, especially outside. She loves hopping around on the ground, and one of her favorite spots is this little patch of grass. She's also having a lot of fun with rocks, feeling them and tossing them around.

So that's what Zeema has been up to for the last 6 months, and now I'd like to have some fun with her and I hope you enjoy! Alright, what do you think, Zeema? Do you want to have some fun now? [ZEEMA PURRING] Yeah?

Let's hop around! Okay! Good girl! [HAPPY COUNTRY MUSIC].

I hope you had fun with Zeema and me! And if you'd like to go on more animal adventures, subscribe and I'll see you very soon. Bye! [BOLD OUTRO MUSIC].