Miami-Dade County

Video shows majestic bird getting surgery to help her see again

A Sarus Crane gets cataract surgery at Zoo Miami

A large Sarus Crane was operated on by Zoo Miami vets to remove cataracts from both eyes on Sept 12, 2018.
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A large Sarus Crane was operated on by Zoo Miami vets to remove cataracts from both eyes on Sept 12, 2018.

Cranes, like humans, can develop cataracts, making it hard for them to see.

So how is it fixed?

The same way cataracts are fixed in humans — with surgery.

Sarus Crane 2.jpg
A Sarus Crane underwent cataract surgery at Zoo Miami Sept. 12, 2018. Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami on Thursday released a close-up view of a 47-year-old Sarus Crane getting cataract surgery in both eyes. Sarus Cranes are the tallest flying bird in the world, according to the zoo.

The bird, who has spent her life at the zoo, was “having problems navigating her enclosure,” said Dr. Lorraine Karpinski, the veterinary ophthalmologist who performed the surgery.

“This attempt will be to improve her quality of life,” she said in the video, which isn’t for the squeamish.

The footage shows the bird being captured, sedated and then placed on a table and given oxygen. Then comes the not-so-easy-to-watch part — a needle is placed into the crane’s eye.

Zoo spokesman Ron Magill, who is behind the camera, called the surgery “amazing.”

“It blew my mind when I saw the cataract go away in a cloud,” Magill said.

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