Tuesday 21 January 2020

Eye operation for Gloria the pygmy slow loris hailed a success

Gloria the pygmy slow loris following double cataract surgery
Gloria the pygmy slow loris following double cataract surgery

A last-ditch attempt to save the eyesight of a rare primate has been hailed a success.

Gloria the pygmy slow loris has undergone double cataract surgery due to her failing eyesight, which has meant she has struggled to find food to eat.

The primate, who lives at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in Devon, underwent the operation at a nearby veterinary surgery.

Ghislaine Sayers, head of veterinary services at the zoo, said: "Gloria arrived at Paignton Zoo in July 2014 and already had cataracts in both eyes.

"Over the last two years these cataracts have become more severe - the lenses have become more opaque and the cataracts have filled more of the lenses.

"Over the last six months it has become progressively more difficult for her to find live insect food in her enclosure, while introductions between herself and male lorises for possible breeding have been fraught with problems because she can't see.

"The only option was to carry out surgery to remove the opaque lenses, allowing light to get to the retina - it was the only way to restore her sight."

Paignton Zoo has a total of seven pygmy slow lorises in its collection. This includes one pair with one youngster, plus four single animals that could form breeding pairs.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the species as vulnerable.

Ms Sayers added: "Slow lorises have large eyes because they are nocturnal and they have a very big light-reflecting area at the back of the eye to maximise the available light at night, but as far as I know they are not prone to eye problems."

The surgery was carried out by veterinary ophthalmologist Jim Carter.

Gloria will have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops for two weeks, pain relief and oral anti-inflammatories for a month and oral antibiotics for a couple of weeks.

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