On Aug. 10, Alice’s new brace was finished. Although she wore it for about a week, it was clear that the brace was making her uncomfortable and did not provide the stability we had hoped. That left us with no choice. We had to do surgery.
Alice underwent surgery Aug. 28 for internal brace ligament augmentation. The surgeons placed an internal brace suture tape inside the joint to create an artificial lateral ligament. Alice is truly a pioneer for her species, as this is the first time this procedure has been performed in Stanley cranes! Pins were then placed in the bone to further stabilize the joint as it healed. The procedure went smoothly, and Alice remained at the Zoo’s veterinary hospital to recover.
Because the surgeons recommended restricting her activity for months post-surgery, one of the most challenging aspects of caring for Alice was thinking of ways to keep her enriched. While Alice continued to receive visits and interactions from Bird House keepers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians and hospital keepers on a regular basis, there were other animals to care for as well. To provide additional visual and auditory stimulation, we brought her a DVD player, thinking that if she could watch people talking and dancing, it would keep her entertained and provide some “virtual” socialization.
Animal care staff from the hospital and all over the Zoo donated DVDs for Alice. The first movie she watched was "Chicago." Alice is naturally attracted to glitz and shiny objects, so I thought the sparkly costumes plus the dancing would resonate with her. Throughout the movie, she cocked her head and watched it intently. There’s no way for us to interpret what she thought, but it was clear she was hooked!