Human, veterinary specialists collaborate on primate surgery at Zoo Miami

Doctors from human, veterinary disciplines operate on 29-year-old primate

By John Hett - Digital Editor
Ron McGill, Zoo Miami

"Sia," short for Siamang, a type of medium-sized primate, is recovering after a successful surgery last Friday, Zoo Miami officials said.

MIAMI, Fla. - "Sia," short for siamang, a type of medium-sized primate, is recovering after a successful surgery last Friday, Zoo Miami officials said.

The 29-year-old siamang had spent most of her life feeding on leaves and fruits that are similar to those found in her native habitat of Malaysia and Borneo. After noticing digestive issues, zoo medical staff determined that she would need surgery to clear her GI tract of sand and pebbles.

Zoo Miami invited Dr. Gaetano Ciancio, a human transplant and oncology specialist, to join volunteer private veterinarian Dr. Briana Danielson and Zoo Miami associate veterinarian Dr. Marisa Bezijan.

The trio worked together to remove the sand and pebbles from the animal's GI tract, collaborating on the surgery as part of Zoo Miami's "One Health" initiative. The initiative brings together health professionals from across disciplines to collaborate with one another.

Siamangs can grow to weigh between 22 and 25 pounds, but are more known for their booming calls. By filling an inflatable throat sac,a siamang can emit sounds that can be heard up to two miles away. The surgery is not expected to have any adverse effect on her booming call, zoo officials said.

Siamangs are considered an endangered species due to logging and agriculture growth that are leveling native habitat.

"Sia" will return to her own Zoo habitat following her recovery.

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