Scottish Daily Mail

Open wide... molar bear is taken for his check-up at dentist’s

(And the good news is, his gnashers are fine)

- By Jonathan Brockleban­k j.brockleban­

HE is no more keen on a trip to the dentist than any other six-year-old.

And, weighing in at 82 stones, Walker the polar bear is perhaps not the dentist’s f avourite patient either.

But the good news is that the root canal work it was feared Highland Wildlife Park’s largest resident needed was not, after all, a bear necessity.

Walker had more reason than the average bear to fear dental treatment. On a previous occasion one of his lower canines was extracted and the wound became infected, so he needed an operation.

This time around, he had more luck. It took a team of 25 to anaestheti­se him, manoeuvre him into the dentist’s ‘chair’, carry out an Xray and film the whole operation.

But the upper canine tooth which vets had noticed was discoloure­d and feared might have died turned out only to be chipped.

It meant there was no need for root canal surgery.

However, he will be monitored over the coming weeks to check for any changes in his behaviour. Both Walker and Arktos, another male polar bear at the park at Kincraig, Inverness-shire, have been trained to allow keepers to carry out regular health checks.

Una Richardson, head keeper for carnivores at Highland Wildlife Park, said: ‘It is a testament to his veterinary and animal keeping team that his problems have been spotted in the course of his animal training sessions and by observatio­n of subtle changes i n his behaviour.’

Bears, like humans, are prone to dental problems. If Walker had been in the wild, his previous tooth injuries could have proved fatal. But vets say he is doing well and will have a further dental check-up in six months’ time.

Walker and Arktos, seven, are Scotland’s only polar bears and live in a custom-built enclosure.

At six acres, the park is considered one of the biggest and best polar bear enclosures in the world.

Walker arrived there in 2010 from Rhenen Zoo, in the Netherland­s. Arktos was born at Vienna Zoo on St Andrew’s Day in 2007 and joined Walker at the park in April 2012.

 ??  ?? Bearing up: Walker, right, is given his dental check-up under anaestheti­c by the park medical team
Bearing up: Walker, right, is given his dental check-up under anaestheti­c by the park medical team
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom