CHENNAI: Uttarakhand's Shaktimaan, the horse, had a prosthetic leg flown in from the USA, but still didn't live to neigh the tale. But miles away in Chennai, a calf that had its hind leg severed in a road accident the same day that the horse had its leg hacked at, still has a shot at making it - and the prosthetic leg that it needs to live on, only needs to be procured from as far away as Jaipur.
The seven-month-old Bull calf, subsequently named Shaktimaan by the Blue Cross of India team that rushed to its aid, was spotted with its tibia nearly severed, by a lady in Tambaram. A quick ambulance ride later, R Siva, the vet at BCI found that there was so option but to amputate the damaged portion of the leg, "There was no other option really. So on March 14, we did the amputation and within 90 minutes, it was done," he said. The real problem for them was trying to keep the bullish animal off its feet - an ever present danger, as it ran the risk of severe infection or damaging its remaining limbs.
While it's more popular namesake attracted a pile of sympathy, sparked a national outrage and had donors willing to fashion it a prosthetic leg, this bovine Shaktimaan wasn't anywhere near as lucky. "The problem for cows who lose limbs is that there's very little chance that they will survive without a prosthetic. Especially when it's this young. They will grow into a heifer and then an adult bull, so that's a lot of weight that three legs simply cannot hold up," explained Dawn Williams, BCI's General Manager, who was the person who rescued calf and fashioned his name.
To give the animal an even shot at life, BCI has decided to collect funds and approach a Jaipur-based prosthetics firm to get the calf back on its feet. "The actual cost of the prosthetic leg is only about Rs 40,000 but the problem is that it will require three separate legs for when it ages and grows bigger and bigger. He will weigh almost 400 kgs when he's fully grown. This will also mean that the designer will have to come from Jaipur to measure, cast and then fit the leg. It's a long process but we really hope that it will come together," he said, hope resplendent in his weary voice.
As they wait for donors to step up and give Shaktimaan a hoof up, here's what the disgruntled baby bull is upto in its recovery phase, "He's been recovering for a month now and he's actually gotten on his feet and begun hobbling around on three feet. It's quite amazing. He eats grass, rice bran and paddy straw like any other cow in our paddock. We're really hoping that things work out for this calf," added the vet.
Will Chennai step up to make namma Shaktimaan walk again?
To help donate for this calf's prosthetic leg, contact the Blue Cross of India at 044 22354959 or 9176425265