KUCHING, May 16 (Bernama) --
The world's first- ever cataract operation on an orang utan was conducted by
animal ophthalmologist Dr Izak Venter and anaesthesiologist Dr Frik Stegman,
both from South Africa, at the Matang Wildlife Centre here today.
Dr Venter, from the Medical Centre Group of Hospitals in South Africa, said
the operation on the orang utan named Aman (Peace), in its 20's, was to save
the primate's eyesight.
The three-hour operation this morning was successful, he told reporters
after the operation.
Aman's cataract problem was detected in March and Dr Venter himself had
examined the primate's eyes and its health to see whether the operation was
According to Dr Venter, the cataract operation using the phacoemulsification
procedure had been generally successful with patients with better eyesight.
He said animals responded differently after an operation with some taking
longer than others to regain their eyesight.
Aman, which was rescued from a market in Sarawak in 1989 had been kept at
the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre since then before being
transferred to the Matang Wildlife Centre in December 2000. He has had two
serious accidents at the centre. He bit an electric cable and had to have
his tongue removed and in 2000, his left index finger was bitten off by
It has two female offspring aged three years and one month with his mates
Chiam and Lena at the centre.
On the way to the operating theatre.
Donation from tourists for the operation.
Anxious relatives and reporters gathering
outside the operating
theatre in Matang Park.
Press conference for relatives and
operations were covered by all major newspaper in Sarawak.