Penguin Surgery: Urgent Cataract Surgery Saves Penguin’s Life

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This story about penguin surgery revolves around a Humboldt penguin, Munch, which had to undergo eye surgery. This was the first time that a penguin had to be operated upon to save its eyesight. The surgery was done in the UK at the Chester Zoo.

The 4-year old bird was struggling to catch fish and was constantly bumping into his friends. The zoo officials were really worried about this and looked seriously into the matter.

Also read: Same-Sex Penguin Couple Found At Melbourne Aquarium

Munch was seen to swim slower than usual and was having trouble diving during feeding time. It is quite confusing to see a penguin not catch a fish. The conservationists called the vets in the zoo and they looked into this matter.

The Surgery Done On The Penguin, Munch


The vets studied Munch and found that he had a cataract. The lenses of his eyes were cloudy and his vision was quite poor in his left eye while he was completely blind in his right. 

The only solution they had come up with was a complete surgery and they had him sent to the Vet Clinic in Cheshire. Munch went through a 2-hour operation to have his cataracts removed. 

The ophthalmologist had performed on a bird for the first time. 

The life of the penguin was impacted due to the poor eyesight and the only option for Iona Mathieson was to operate on him. 

The zoo was greatly affected due to the pandemic and the specialists gave in their equipment and time. The officials went to surgical companies to ask for donations as well. 

The surgery was completely successful and Munch is making a fast recovery.

Munch had to be kept in a small poor for proper monitoring and was kept company by Wurly, which was his best friend.

Spheniscus humboldti2

Munch got some time out from the group for regular checkups but was accompanied by Wurly. 

The penguin is on the road to recovery and receives eye drops daily. He is confident and swimming faster every day. He has started feeding with his group and is moving easily.

These birds are listed to be vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. The Humboldt penguins are native to Chile and Peru and only 24,000 such birds are left in the world. 

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