Harbor Seal Undergoes Cataract Surgery at Fresno Chaffee Zoo

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On February 12, Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s Harbor Seal Buck, received surgery on both eyes to remove cataracts that had rendered him blind.

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Over the last several years Buck has had bilateral severe cataracts in both eyes, a common complication of old age with pinnipeds. Last year one of the cataracts started to shift in one of his eyes. At this time, Fresno Chaffee Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Lewis Wright decided to have the cataracts removed.    

In working with Aquatic Animal Eye Care and a team of certified veterinary specialists, the 4 1/2 hour procedure successfully removed both cataracts. Buck was placed off exhibit for 3 weeks allowing time for his eyes to heal.

“When Buck came out of anesthesia, it was immediately obvious that he could see again. It was amazing to see him respond to past training behaviors such as holding up a flipper when shown,“ said Assistant Curator Lyn Myers.

Buck is now back out on exhibit and doing great.

Harbor Seals are found off of the coastal waters of the northern hemisphere, south in the Atlantic to Cape Cod and France, and in the Pacific, to Baja California and Japan. They prefer shallow water and sandy beaches. Harbor seals are a small seal, with a rounded, short-muzzled head plus the spotted coats. The eyes are very large and the front flippers short. The nostrils form a wide “V” and the ear opening is inconspicuous.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. April – September (9 a.m. – 4 p.m. October - March) every day except Thanksgiving (9 a.m. – 2 p.m). and Christmas Day (closed). General admission during regular Zoo hours is $7 for adults, $3.50 for children 2-11 and seniors 62+, and children under 2 and Fresno Chaffee Zoo members are free. Fresno Chaffee Zoo inspires wonder of our natural world, provides an engaging learning environment, and creates a passion for conservation. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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Terri Mejorado
Fresno Chaffee Zoo
(559) 859-2227
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