Monday 16 January 2017

Polar bear set for health check

Published 09/08/2010 | 16:03

Keepers were given the task of weighing the UK's only polar bear, Mercedes
Keepers were given the task of weighing the UK's only polar bear, Mercedes

Keepers have been given the task of weighing the UK's only polar bear to help experts determine how healthy she is.

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Staff at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie managed to entice Mercedes, the female bear, onto mechanical scales in her enclosure.

Knowing her correct weight means workers can better monitor her health and ensure she is given the appropriate doses of medicines if needed.

But they said Mercedes, who weighed in at around 45.8 stone or 291 kilograms, appears to be in perfect health.

Animal collection manager Douglas Richardson said: "She gives all the signs of being in perfect health, but she is at the upper end of a polar bear's lifespan and we want to ensure that we are not missing any potential age-related problems that may reduce her quality of life if they are not dealt with.

"All wild animals are pre-conditioned to hide illness to avoid predation or harassment, and a zoo polar bear is no exception, so her pending health check is very important."

Originally from Canada, Mercedes was housed in Edinburgh Zoo until her move to the Highlands at the end of last year.

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