Wednesday, 04. March 2015
30. 07. 14. - 15:00
A circus bear that had its teeth pulled out so that it would not be dangerous is recovering after it was given a titanium jaw when an infection set in.
The bear had been the star attraction of the Harley circus in the town of Dzidzantun, in the south-eastern Mexican state of Yucatan, where it had been dressed in a pink ballerina costume and been forced to ride a bike just like the bear in the hit cartoon film Madagascar 3.
But after being worried that the bear might bite its trainers or human performers in the circus ring, the owners of the circus had illegally pulled out its teeth. But they had then needed to call in vets after the mutilation caused an infection, and the vets had raised the alarm with animal welfare officers who then raided the circus.
Animal welfare officials told local media that the bear but also been forced to dance and that during the training its mouth had been tied up with a leather belt. After managing to free itself however its trainer had decided it was too dangerous, and after drugging the bear had pulled out its teeth with a pair of pliers. When the bear had come round, he had been put straight back in the ring to perform again and the performance routine had continued even when the animal was taken ill.
When police raided the circus they discovered the seriously ill bear and arranged for it, together with seven other animals, to be taken into care at the Mexican Bioparque Convivencia Pachuca animal refuge centre. Veterinary medics decided that the only way to save its life was to replace the infected lower jaw and as a result the bear was given a specially made titanium replacement.
And carer Ericka Ortigoza said that after the seven hour operation Invictus the bear, estimated to be aged somewhere between 7 and 10, was doing well. The surgery was carried out by 30 medics led by Ignacio Calleja, a specialised maxillofacial surgeon, and the veterinarians Guillermo Diaz Diaz and Carlos Flores Garcia.
Ericka said: "When he was at the circus his name was Ballerina Nait, but we felt that this was a tragic reminder of his previous life and abuse, and so we have renamed him as Invictus.
"It is great that he is showing clear signs of recovery and has a big appetite, and we have even heard his first growl."
The bear is expected to be in rehabilitation for the next eight months and will then go to its new home at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, which has already accepted 10 lions and four coyotes from the Mexican refuge centre.
The circus, which is under investigation over allegations that it purchased illegally trafficked animals that had originally been caught in the wild, has rejected all the allegations and accused Mexican authorities and local media of targeting them in a campaign aimed at closing them down. They said that the only reason the bear had lost its teeth was because he suffered from toothache, and they had decided to remove them to prevent it from further suffering.
He declined to comment on why the bear which should have weighed around 200 kilos weight just 90 kilos, and had apparently been suffering from a fractured leg that had not been treated.
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