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Orangutan gets testicle back to right position after unprecedented surgery: zoo

Jill, an orangutan at the Kansas City Zoo, cares for her new baby Pendami. Zoo workers went to unprecedented lengths and earned the trust of Jill so they could monitor her pregnancy including performing ultrasound on her. (MCT)
Jill, an orangutan at the Kansas City Zoo, cares for her new baby Pendami. Zoo workers went to unprecedented lengths and earned the trust of Jill so they could monitor her pregnancy including performing ultrasound on her. (MCT)

A baby Bornean orangutan at a South Korean zoo underwent surgery last month to lace up one of his testicles where it should be after it had been found abnormally stuck inside the anthropoid's abdomen, a zoo official said Friday.

The two-hour surgery was the first of its kind in the world and drew a team of six local urologists and veterinarians, according to Kang Hyung-uk, a public relations official at Seoul Zoo, located just outside of Seoul. Kang said he had checked with other zoo associations abroad to see if a similar surgery had ever been done.

The orangutan, barely 3 years old, was too young to undergo surgery when one of his testicles was found hidden inside his belly during a medical checkup last year, a potentially deadly case that could have developed into cancer and caused infertility, Kang said.

"So we waited until 'Baekseok' was strong enough, and a team of local urologists came forward in the meantime to help bring the testicle down to where it should be," he said.

Zaii Urology Hospital in southern Seoul confirmed its staff had conducted the surgery.

The doctors were delighted, Kang said, when they found the beleaguered organ had momentarily drifted down from inside the belly before they began their operation.

"So it was a matter of carefully lacing it up so it doesn't return. We were relieved the surgery didn't get more complicated,"

Kang said, describing the joy among his colleagues at the zoo.

How does Baekseok -- born here and expected to live about 50 years -- feel about his manly organ being restored to normal?

"He now seems to be strutting with more power than before,"Kang said, declining to elaborate.

Baekseok, whose name means the 100th anniversary in Korean, according to Kang, returned to the public eye on Friday, just ahead of the warm three-day holiday weekend.

(Yonhap News)

<한글 기사>

오랑우탄의 말 못할 수술

"야생동물 고환보정 세계 최초 성공"

서울동물원의 아기 오랑우탄 '백석'이 고환보정 수술을 받고 진정한 수컷(?)이 됐다.

서울대공원은 세 살배기 수컷 오랑우탄 '백석'에게 지난달 세계 최초로 고환보정수술을 해 성공했다고 3일 밝혔다.

서울동물원 개원 100주년이던 2009년 5월에 태어난 백석은 엄마 뱃속에서 너무 일찍 나와 인큐베이터에서 인공호흡기로 생명을 유지하는 등 순탄치 않은 삶을 시작 했다.

더욱이 지난해 7월에는 혈액 검사와 유전자 검사 과정에서 잠복고환 문제까지 발견됐다. 오른쪽 고환만 보이고 왼쪽 고환이 배 안쪽 어딘가에 숨겨져 있었던 것이다.

이런 문제는 불임의 원인이 될 뿐 아니라 추후 암이 될 가능성도 있어 동물원 측은 수술을 하기로 결단을 내렸다.

다만 발견 당시 백석이 만 1년이 안 된 아기라는 점에서 만 두 살이 되는 올해 5월까지 기다리기로 했다.

지난달 3일 진행된 수술에는 서울동물원 수의사뿐 아니라 강남자이병원 비뇨기과 전문의 3명도 투입됐다.

수술은 먼저 CT 촬영을 통해 백석의 숨은 고환을 찾아낸 뒤 이를 밑으로 내려서 묶는 방법으로 2시간에 걸쳐 진행됐다.

야생동물을 대상으로 실시된 세계 최초의 이 고환보정수술은 다행히 성공이었다. 10일도 안 돼 상처부위가 아물었고 백석은 점차 정상을 되찾았다.

서울동물원은 수술 한 달 만인 3일 백석을 일반에 공개하기로 했다.

진정한 수컷으로 다시 태어난 백석은 서울동물원 유인원관 아기놀이방에 가면 볼 수 있다.

(연합뉴스)
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