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Miracle foal survives against the odds

A foal tragically orphaned at eight weeks has been successfully adopted by a Shetland pony at a sanctuary

A foal orphaned when his elderly mother died has surprised staff at an animal sanctuary by surviving and finding a new adoptive mother.

When Kahn, a steel grey Welsh section A and his mother Ellie, arrived at the Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary in Lancashire after being signed over, staff couldn’t believe that the mare had survived giving birth to him.

Vets estimated that Ellie was around 30 years old and according to centre manager Neil Martin, was “skin and bone”.

“In feeding Kahn,” says Neil, “the mare gave him her all. Any body tissue Ellie had, she converted into milk and colosturum.”

Ellie was under veterinary supervision from the moment she arrived and for two weeks managed to nurse Kahn until vets decided that had to be put down.

Ellie’s death left Kahn anorphan and although he had weaned himself off her milk, he was without a mother figure.

“By the time Kahn arrived, he was using his mother as a source of comfort rather than a source of food,” explains Neil Martin. “He was already eating grass and when we tried offering him milk, he wasn’t interested.”

Concerned about how he would cope on his own, staff at the centre introduced Kahn to Mary, a 7hh, eight-year-old black Shetland.

Mary proved the ideal mother figure and was more than happy to look after Kahn. However Kahn has now grown taller than Mary and staff have decided to introduce him to a new playmate.

Animals that arrive at Bleakholt usually spend the rest of their days at the centre, but in Kahn’s case they may make an exception.

“Animals who come to us are usually quite old and are looking for a quieter life,” says Martin. “But because Kahn is so young, we may review his situation in the future.”

For more information on Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary click here.

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