Song For Whoever Beautiful South
25 October 2017, 09:15
A bear has had 3kg of tissue removed from his tongue after an illness caused it to swell, becoming 'monstrously enlarged'.
Nyan htoo, an Asian brown bear, was suffering from a mysterious condition that caused his tongue to become so large it would drag along the floor as he tried to play with his brother.
Although he was first operated on in 2016, his swelling recurred, and he was left in more pain. He injured it against his teeth, and had to rest his head against the bars of his cage to support its weight.
Vets from Edinburgh University travelled to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, and operated for four hours to remove 3kg of tissue from the bear's tongue, helping him to be able to live a more comfortable life.
Nyan htoo, which means 'bright', and his brother, were rescued from illegal sale by a monastery in Myanmar.
One of the vets, Heather Bacon, from the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, said: "Thanks to the enthusiasm and compassion of all involved in this uniquely collaborative project, we have been able to make a tangible improvement in the quality of Nyan htoo's life.
"And hope to continue our work in Myanmar to promote improvements in animal welfare and veterinary training."
The team now believes he may have had elephantiasis, which has never been seen in bears before, but is common in people in that region. It is transmitted by mosquitoes.
Caroline Nelson, from Animals Asia's Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, said: "This was a really unusual medical condition - never before seen in any species of bear - but we weren't about to give up on Nyan htoo.
"Now he will be able to eat much more comfortably, sleep in more natural positions and move more freely for the rest of his life."
Nyan htoo is recovering well.
(c) Sky News 2017: Bear necessity: Animal with 'monstrously enlarged' tongue saved by vets