Formerly Blind Orangutan Sees Her One-Year-Old Twins for the First Time

Cataract surgery restores the sight of a Sumatran orangutan in the first surgery of its kind in Indonesia.
An orangutan like this one had her sight restored with cataract surgery this week. (Photo: Menahem Kahena/AFP/Getty Images)
Sep 1, 2012· 0 MIN READ
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

The Washington Post reports that a formerly blind Sumatran orangutan had her sight restored with cataract surgery this week.

The 40-year-old orangutan, whose name is Gober, was captured in 2008 in Indonesia after conservationists noted that she had gone blind from cataracts. In 2011, she gave birth to twins at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation as part of its breeding program to increase her species' dwindling numbers.

According to the Post, cataract surgery on an orangutan has never been performed before in Indonesia, but the doctors at the provincial capital of Medan reported that Gober’s operation, which was done this past Monday, was a successful one. The orangutan was able to see her babies for the first time on Thursday.

The paper also reports that only one other orangutan has undergone cataract surgery, which was successfully performed in Malaysia in 2007.

Do you think cataract surgery was necessary for an animal that lives in captivity, or should advanced medical care like this become the norm for captive animals?