“Once I put the little boot on him and he did this little jump, then he was running around and climbing, I actually cried,” she said, explaining how Triumph became a whole new koala once the prosthesis was attached.
“It’s the best thing that ever happened, I would do absolutely anything for this boy.”
Christian had become Triumph’s primary carer at the Friends of the Koala centre in Lismore, a town 136km (84.51 miles) south of Brisbane, while searching for a solution to his birth defect.
A U.S. company specialising in animal prosthesis tried to create a foot for Triumph, but was unsuccessful after several attempts.
Eventually Christian found an answer closer to home. Dental prosthetist Jon Doulman had heard of Triumph’s dilemma and volunteered to take on the case.
“It was certainly different,” Doulman said. “It required a bit of lateral thinking in so far as coming up with the design ... but it was a great feeling to be able to help him.”
Doulman is currently in the process of improving his design for Triumph, but said that the koala “seems to be quite comfortable wearing it.”
Triumph, who is nearly five years old, will need to spend the rest of his life in captivity, most likely under Christian’s care.