An orangutan is expected to have improved vision after successfully undergoing cataract surgery Wednesday, the world's first ever such operation on a great ape, a wildlife official said.
The 19-year-old orangutan named Aman is gradually recovering after the two-and-a-half-hour surgery on both his eyes at the Matang Wildlife Center in Sarawak state on Borneo island, said Sarawak Forestry spokesman Zulkifli Baba Noor.
The operation was performed by animal ophthalmologist Izak Venter and anesthetist Frik Stegman, both from South Africa, and assisted by local veterinarian S. Amilan, he told The Associated Press.
Aman has been suffering from decreasing vision due to severe cataracts since 2000, he said.
The orangutan is expected to be able to see again although he may not completely regain his vision, Zulkifli said.
Cataract surgery had been performed on other animals such as dogs but never before on an orangutan, he said.
Aman, who weighs around 330 pounds, could live up to 45 years old, he added.
Aman was rescued from a market in Sarawak in 1989 and brought to an animal sanctuary before being transferred to the Matang center in 2000.