Calgary Zoo lemur enjoys “golden years” after cataract surgery

Radish, like many senior citizens, had failing eyesight.

Cataracts had clouded the 29-year-old red-fronted lemur’s vision. She was still a busy lemur, but she was having trouble seeing objects and shapes close to her and not doing all the things lemurs usually do.

“A thorough medical exam revealed what we feared,” staff at the Calgary Zoo announced on Facebook Tuesday. “The cataracts in Radish’s eyes had matured making it nearly impossible for her to see anything in front of her.”

And so, a plan was hatched to operate.

This was Radish before the surgery.

Photo: Calgary Zoo

A veterinary ophthalmologist was consulted on how to go about treating Radish.

“Operating on Radish’s eyes would be a challenge,” the zoo said in a statement, “But the post-operative care was going to be even more tricky.”

And so, they trained her over several months to take eye drops multiple times a day in exchange for a banana reward or other yummy treats.

By late October, Radish was ready for the delicate surgical procedure.

It was a success and she returned to her family group the same day.

More eye drops followed three times a day as well as other medication — and more delicious bananas.

Her eyes healed rapidly and with it, Radish started navigating her entire habitat again and level of activity increased, zookeepers said.

And, this is Radish now.

Photo: Calgary Zoo

The zoo called it a “Christmas miracle.”

“After such a hard year, it’s been such a gift for the Calgary Zoo team to watch Radish return to enjoying all the things lemurs enjoy,” the facility said.

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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