An innovative burn treatment that uses fish skin is helping to heal animals who have fallen victim to the fires in the Brazilian wetlands. The technique developed by researchers at the Federal University of Ceara uses a dehydrated and sterilized tilapia skin on burn wounds. The skin is rich in collagen that acts as a dressing for the burned area, helping to speed up the healing and growth of new skin.
The veterinarians treating animals that suffered burns during the intense fires, partnering with researchers to use the tilapia skin on some of the burn victims like deer and even snakes. The researchers took 130 pieces of tilapia biological dressings to the wetlands known as Pantanal, which should enable them to treat some 40 injured animals.
In Brazil, it is the first time this technique has been used on wild animals, but the same group of researchers took the technique to veterinarians in California treating bears injured during recent fires in the west coast of the United States. The government of President Jair Bolsonaro did little to stop the burning of the wetlands or to help with the consequences of the widespread fires.
The treatment of the animals and the training of vets was financed by a crowdfunding campaign called Pantanal em Chamas - Pantanal on Fire - organized by the NGO Ampara Silvestre. A quarter of the Pantanal has been consumed by fire, according to satellite imagery from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Pantanal vegetation can regenerate quickly with rain, but the wildlife that survives are left stranded without habitat. Pantanal fires began burning wildly in July and continued into September.
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