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Innovation in conservation: 3D printing used to heal mountain goat

In collaboration with an Israeli specialist company, veterinarians designed a removable 3D-printed harness to mend the young animal's broken leg.

A young mountain goat being treated at Israel's Safari Wildlife Hospital, Sept. 28, 2023. Photo by the Safari Wildlife Hospital.
A young mountain goat being treated at Israel's Safari Wildlife Hospital, Sept. 28, 2023. Photo by the Safari Wildlife Hospital.

Israeli veterinarians were recently able to set the leg of a mountain goat kid using a printed harness, speeding its successful return to the wild.

Workers at the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve first encountered the young animal, which was limping, earlier this year. Wildlife experts and veterinarians decided to delay capture until it was weaned.

Eventually, a joint operation led by Dr. Tomer Nisimian, chief veterinarian at Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority brought the injured kid in for treatment at the Safari Wildlife Hospital.

Nisimian noted the complexity of caring for mountain goat kids and the challenges faced during treatment.

“Taking care of baby goats is more complicated than expected,” he said. For example, he explained, once touched by a human hand, it is possible that the mother will no longer approach it. Therefore, care must be taken to keep contact to a minimum.

“Beyond that, it was important to make sure that the bone is not contaminated” before setting it and closing the wound, he said.

The medical team discovered an open fracture in the goat’s right foreleg, requiring an innovative solution. Collaborating with Synergy3d Med, a 3D surgery specialist company, they designed a removable 3D-printed harness that could secure the leg while also remaining removable for necessary adjustments and wound care. This solution proved effective, closing the wound, stabilizing the leg and allowing for minimal lameness during healing.

Following its recovery, the kid, named Bioné—a combination of Bionet and Beyoncé—was successfully reintroduced to its herd.

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