Two snow leopards, Pirate and Leader had eye surgery this week in Kazakhstan Almaty Zoo to prevent blindness. The snow leopards came from Kyrgyzstan and the operation on each lasted for over 2 hours. The snow leopards were anaesthetised and underwent surgery to correct defects in the eyelids. The surgery is similar to surgery on two snow leopard cubs, Kimti and Dian at Philadelphia Zoo last year. The problem of coloboma, a medical condition that causes irritation and infections from hairs touching the eyes is not uncommon in zoo births of the cats and needs to be corrected surgically to avoid blindness and give the cats quality of life and potential to breed.
According to Head of the scientific and methodological department of Almaty Zoo, Dr Ergali Bekkulov, the snow leopards are in good condition, although there is no guarantee at this stage that recovery will be complete and they may have to have more surgery later.