LITTLE ROCK — Chiquita the orangutan is on the mend at the Little Rock Zoo after undergoing abdominal surgery.

But the procedure wasn't done by a veterinarian. Instead, the zoo asked a Little Rock obstetrician and gynecologist to perform a less-invasive laproscopy procedure so the 44-year-old orangutan wouldn't pick at an incision wound.

Dr. Brian Burton volunteered his time to perform the surgery. Zoo staff initially thought Chiquita suffered from an ovarian cyst, but Burton discovered during surgery that the animal had a hernia instead. Little Rock surgeon Dr. Eric Paul came in to help repair the hernia.

Zoo spokeswoman Susan Altrui said that the zoo was comfortable asking non-veterinarians to perform the surgery because orangutans and humans are "almost identical."