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Snow leopard cubs undergo eye surgery at Woodland Park Zoo

snowleopardcub
The surgical procedure was the next step toward a progressive, more permanent solution to create a functional eyelid. (Photo by Ryan Hawk/courtesy Woodland Park Zoo)

Three-month-old snow leopards cubs born with eye and eyelid defects, a condition known as coloboma, went through another surgery Tuesday at Woodland Park Zoo.

Both cubs, girls Shanti and Asha, remain blind in their abnormally small right eyes.

The zoo's volunteer veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Tom Sullivan of the Animal Eye Clinic in Seattle, performed the delicate surgery.

The surgical procedure was the next step toward a progressive, more permanent solution to create a functional eyelid.

Zoo staff will be evaluating the health of the cubs in the next few weeks, potentially deciding that the cubs could be introduced to their public exhibit at the zoo.

"The cubs are physically challenged because of their impaired vision so we needed to make the exhibit sight-impaired cub friendly, such as cutting off tree branches at the eye level of the cubs, to ensure the cubs can navigate their surroundings safely without getting injured," said Dr. Jennifer Pramuk, a curator at the zoo.

The third cub, a male, was euthanized in June. He was born with multiple, severe heart defects that caused early heart failure.

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