Snow Leopard Cub at Sacramento Zoo Gets Surgery for Eye Defect

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SACRAMENTO -- One of the Sacramento Zoo's star residents is now recovering.

Coconut the snow leopard underwent surgery Wednesday morning, for a procedure on his eyes and other precautionary measures.

Veterinarians with the Sacramento Zoo and specialists from UC Davis were focusing on care for a congenital eye defect.

"What happens is when he tries to close his eyes there is kind of a little notch defect where he can’t completely close his eye,” veterinarian director Dr. Ray Wack told FOX40.

This can also cause hair to get into his eye and can cause irritation. Dr. Wack says it is something common among snow leopards born in captivity.

Since the animal was under anesthesia to correct his eyes, veterinarians will also take preventative measures on his legs.

The 5-month-old cub was also born with a rare deformity called swimmers syndrome.

"Where his legs splayed out and he wasn’t really able to support his weight well,” Dr. Wack said.

Throughout the two and a half hours of surgery, groups of people came to check in on the endangered cub.

"We really want them to connect with these animals. The fact is one of the purposes of the zoo is for these animals to act as ambassadors and get us all really interested in protecting these guys in the wild, " Dr. Wack said.

Coconut will not be on display for at least two weeks as he recovers.

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