A formerly blind Sumatran orangutan has been given a remarkable gift of being able to see her baby twins for the very first time after undergoing cataract surgery in the first such operation in Indonesia.
Prior to her surgery on Monday afternoon, Gober, a 40-year-old orangutan, had spent at least the last four years blind due to cataracts leading to her capture in North Sumatra province in late 2008 by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP).
‘If we hadn’t brought her here she would have been killed by local farmers, as she was raiding their crops to survive,’ SOCP veterinarian drh Yenny Sarasqati said in a press release.
Performed in the provincial capital of Medan, the 90-minute cataract surgery conducted by a human eye specialist from Samarinda was Indonesia’s first on an orangutan. The surgery comes just several years after the very first one was performed on an orangutan in Malasyia in 2007.
While Gober’s first moments with her awaiting babies has yet to be reported by the SOCP, it is at least somewhat known what’s awaiting her.
While in captivity, to help ease her life in darkness, the conservation program allowed her to breed with another orangutan named Leuser, who as it happened, is also blind.
‘[We] felt that being blind, it would dramatically improve her quality of life,’ said Sarasqati of their decision which she admitted was rare being that there are already many orangutans in captivity in Indonesia.