Three king penguins received customized eye lenses during cataract removal surgery, credited as the world’s first procedure to improve bird vision, according to a Singapore zoo.
In a statement at the last third fair (14), the veterinarians of the Mandai Wildlife Group announced that the birds were among the six penguins that underwent cataract surgery two months ago and, since then, have fully recovered.
They include three King Penguins, 20 years old or older, and three Humboldt Penguins, ages 7 to 13, who live in Jurong Bird Park, in Singapore.
A cataract, which causes cloudy areas that make it difficult to see, is a common condition related to the health of people and animals.
“We perceive turbulence in their (eyes) moving as they are stretched, having difficulty seeing things in front of them”, told veterinarian Ellen Rasidi, explaining the decision to remove the cataracts.
The penguins-rei will receive personalized intraocular lens implants, says Gladys Boo, a veterinary ophthalmologist who participated in the surgeries, which she says will be “a framework in veterinary medicine”.
The lenses are made to measure in Germany to fit the nose of every penguin – a process that took two months, says Boo.
“As a larger species, king penguins have big eyes and you were enough to keep the personalized lenses in place, so we decided to follow this global procedure to further improve their vision before removing the cataract,” she says.
Photos taken backstage will show the delicate procedure, which Boo says is especially complicated for penguins due to its unique characteristics, such as a third eyelid that protects the eyes under water, more than tends to date during surgery.
After surgery, all six penguins would have to remain without water and the handlers would administer eye drops twice a day.
King-penguins are the second largest species of penguin and are found in the Antarctic Ocean and in the sub-Antarctic region.
Even though they are not in danger, they are protected by the laws of wild life. They can weigh up to 18 kilos and reach up to 1 meter in height and can live up to 30 years in captivity.
Zoo officials and veterinarians have observed “an increase in response capacity and activity levels” in penguins after surgery.
“É bom vê-los mais atives, indicating a better vision”, says Rasidi, the veterinarian. “The king-penguins are also adapting to the new lenses.”
Singapore’s world-famous Jurong Bird Park sheltered nearly 3,500 birds, including parrots, flamingos and eagles, before hatching last August to prepare for a move to new facilities, where they will join the zoo and city night safari A new luxury resort to form an ecotourism hub.
The park has been involved in several high-level rescue and rehabilitation efforts over the course of two years – including treating a skull with cancer, fitting-or wearing a 3D-printed prosthetic bike.
Source: CNN Espanol