Gujarat: needle found in the stomach of the lioness

RAJKOT: Veterinary doctors at the Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh were shocked when they found a sewing needle in the stomach of a 10-year-old lioness on Wednesday. The needle was successfully removed after surgery that lasted almost five to six hours.

The lioness was taken to the Sakkarbaug Zoo from the Shetrunji Range in the Bhavnagar district three days ago after trackers noticed she was ill. The lioness frequently vomited and coughed, and did not change her location unusually. This made forest teams suspicious of her lioness health. They reassured her and took her to the Junagadh Veterinary Hospital.

Sakkarbaug Zoo Forest Deputy Curator Abhishek Kumar said: “After a thorough examination of the oral cavity and the external surface of the body, we suspect it is ingestion of a foreign body. We took a chest and abdominal x-ray and found a radio opaque linear body inside the stomach.

As far as I know, this is the first time that doctors must have opened the stomach of a lion or lioness for surgery, Kumar said.

Veterinary doctors attempted to see the foreign object in the lioness's body parts through endoscopy and attempted to remove it. However, they were unable to remove it as it has pierced the stomach and protruded into the peritoneum, which is the membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity, Kumar added.

The doctors then made the decision to remove it surgically and finally removed the long metal needle.

Bhavnagar Forest Deputy Conservative Sandeep Kumar said: “Bhavnagar has a great landscape and the lioness is moving in the meadow. Farmers often throw sewing needles outdoors and it could have been eaten by some herbivorous animal. The lioness could have taken advantage of this animal and the needle got stuck in this stomach.