When Daniel, a 12-year-old Bornean orangutan at the Phoenix Zoo had trouble breathing, veterinarians invited a local ear, nose and throat doctor to give him a checkup.
Daniel, like many orangutans, has struggled with respiratory disease his entire life. Veterinarians said he often comes down with bouts of sinusitis and air sacculitis, but when treating the symptoms didn't help, the zoo knew they had to address the problem with surgery.
While Dr. Daniel Simms, of Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants, is an expert ENT doctor for humans, he has never been invited to operate on apes before.
He explained an orangutan's nasal cavity is similar to humans, but he studied up on CT scans of the ape's skull to better prepare him for the surgery, and it was a success!