At Disney’s Animal Kingdom (AK), one of the most interesting places to visit is Rafiki’s Planet Watch — first thing in the morning. Visitors can peek into a special examination room where procedures are performed on resident animals. These are often routine health exams, as in the Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture we saw last year on International Vulture Awareness Day. The exams normally take place at 10AM; there may be additional exams later in the day.
On February 24th Arthur and I visited AK and watched Disney veterinary staff perform a laproscopic liver biopsy on a Golden Crested Myna. Here are some photos of the procedure.
The patient is brought into the exam room inside a small cloth bag
The bird was put under anesthesia and the belly area was plucked of feathers. Preparing the patient for surgery took a lot longer than the procedure itself.
The patient is in place
The procedure is underway
The final step was to revive the patient following the surgery.
Afterwards the veterinarian spoke to our small group of observers about what he had done. The myna had recently had its routine yearly exam which included taking and analyzing fluids. The results showed that the bird may have something wrong with its liver, which is why they did the biopsy.
When you get to the park in the morning, you can stop at Guest Relations to ask what the procedures for the day will be. They examine everything from birds to bats to tigers and more. A cast member told us they are more likely to work with birds on Sundays – but really you never know until you get there!