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Reid Park: Endangered monkey has two successful eye surgeries

Photo: Image by Reid Park Zoo

Reid Park: Endangered monkey has two successful eye surgeries

By Ina Ronquillo. CREATED Aug 15, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Thelma, a 29-year old lion-tailed macaque at Reid Park Zoo, recently underwent two eye surgeries to improve her comfort and restore her vision.

Vivian VanPeenen with the zoo tells KGUN9 that as an elderly animal, her keepers watched her behaviors and some of her actions indicated she was in discomfort.

A physical exam revealed mature cataracts in both eyes and a severely elevated pressure in one eye as a result, said VanPeenen.

On July 25th Dr. Alexis Moreno, the Zoo’s veterinarian, consulted with veterinary ophthalmologists to perform an emergency surgery at the Zoo.

Unfortunately, the severe glaucoma caused irreversible damage to Thelma's left eye that had to be removed. Her vision in the remaining eye was severely compromised by the cataract and she was at high risk for developing glaucoma in this eye as well.

The decision was made to consult with an intraocular lens implantation specialist to remove the cataract and replace the lens with a new one, thus restoring her vision and preventing glaucoma, said VanPeenen.

Lion-tailed macaques are a critically endangered species of primate, with as few as 2,500 individual animals remaining in the wild scattered throughout Southern India.

Reid Park Zoo currently houses a troop of 5 individuals with Thelma being the oldest.

Ina Ronquillo

Ina Ronquillo

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Ina is a Southern Arizona native. She graduated from Nogales High School and then received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arizona with a double major in Media Arts and Communication.