Video: See how a polar bear undergoes medical examinations in the USA – 04/03/2024 – Environment

Video: See how a polar bear undergoes medical examinations in the USA – 04/03/2024 – Environment


Lying on her back, with huge paws in the air, polar bear Laerke gets her annual physical. The check-up has many similarities to the one done by humans — blood, urine, heart tests. The difference? About half a dozen veterinarians are needed to turn her during assessments.

The recent exam at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington state (USA), yielded encouraging results for Laerke, who is three years old and has lived with her twin sister there since June 2023, when they both moved from the Detroit Zoo .

“We look for all kinds of lumps, bumps and large lymph nodes, anything that indicates health problems,” says head veterinarian Karen Wolf. “But we didn’t find anything like that. She’s in great condition.”

Reuters had exclusive access to film Laerke being examined from nose to tail during the hour-long examination. Her ears were also cleaned — the vets joke that it’s like getting a “spa treatment.”

“It’s incredible to have direct contact with a polar bear, there are so few. They are truly charismatic animals and they really need our support to save them from extinction and avoid the effects of climate change,” says Wolf.

With warming in the Arctic threatening the traditional habitat of polar bears, who rely on sea ice to hunt seals, the animals are spending more time on land, leaving them hungry and putting their populations at risk.

Point Defiance Zoo’s Rocky Shore & Tundra Assistant Curator Sheridan Ploof says zoos can be crucial in educating the public about the risk climate change poses to wild animals.

“I think zoos play a very important role in conservation. It’s not enough for us to just have these girls here just to show them off. We need to work to conserve their species and teach people about climate change,” she says.


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