41-year-old chimpanzee has cataract operation, regains her sight

Posted Aug 28, 2013 by Anne Sewell
A heartwarming story comes out of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Silvia, a 41-year-old blind chimpanzee at the Loro Parque Zoo, has undergone a cataract operation and has had her sight restored.
Silvia  a 41-year-old blind chimp in Tenerife s Loro Parque Zoo has had her vision restored after un...
Silvia, a 41-year-old blind chimp in Tenerife's Loro Parque Zoo has had her vision restored after undergoing a human-like cataract operation.
Veterinary specialists from the UK and Italy traveled to Tenerife to operate on Silvia, in order to give her a better quality of life.
Silvia has been unable to see properly for some time now, due to the clouding on the lenses of her eyes.
As the longest standing mammal resident at Tenerife’s Loro Parque Zoo in the Canary Islands, life was difficult for her. She had trouble playing with the other chimps and required assistance from the zoo’s carers when eating and drinking.
It was decided to call in veterinary specialists from the UK and Italy to give the elderly chimp a life-changing operation.
After the operation, Silvia awoke to find a whole new world surrounding her. Her carers found her to be very receptive, and she began avidly watching the nature documentaries shown to the chimps on a plasma TV in their enclosure.
Besides the nature documentaries, the chimpanzee family reportedly "love" listening to classical music before going to sleep. As soon as the music starts, they hold hands with their young and go off together to their sleeping quarters to end off the day.
As the grandma of the pack, Silvia can now play her part as a chimp role model and rediscover everything she’s been missing.
This is not the first time that a chimpanzee has undergone this type of surgery. In 2004, a similar operation was performed on a 40-year-old chimp named Jackie in a remote jungle in Cameroon, Africa.
Apparently human-type operations are often suitable for chimpanzees, as they have 98.7 percent of the same physical characteristics as humans do.