An 11-month old polar bear has had to have several teeth taken out at a Canadian zoo after they became broken and infected. Baby Aurora was found in Churchill in Mantibo, Canada, apparently having been abandoned by her mother and left to fend for herself in the wild. Vets examined the youngster and found that she was extremely thin, with several broken teeth.
Aurora was transported to the Assiniboine Park Zoo in nearby Winnipeg for treatment; head veterinary dentist Dr Colleen O’Morrow oversaw the sedation of the bear and extraction of the two teeth – one adult tooth and one baby tooth – that had become infected. She is now recovering in the newly constructed Polar Bear Conservation Centre, where she will soon be introduced to another 11-month old baby bear, Kaska.
Head of the zoo’s veterinary services, Dr Chris Enright, said that ‘in the wild this sort of tooth decay absolutely happens but in captivity we want to address it – we want her as comfortable and as healthy as she can be. This kind of dental surgery is much the same as working on humans but doing it on zoo animals adds a whole new complication. Right now, she might only be about 110lbs but she still has the attitude of a 600lb predator – so it’s certainly not safe to just ask her to open her mouth.’