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Bears 1 SThe annual vet check at DANCING BEAR PARK Belitsa is more than just a routine visit by Dr. Loose and Prof. Aminkov. Within four days, at least half of the bears living at the sanctuary have to receive substantial aid to live with the long-term consequences of their brutal past. In May 2009, the three Serbian bears that arrived in a better life in mid-winter top the list of patients. Particularly Seida and Natasha are severely afflicted and need an operation to deal with holes in their jaws.
A total of twelve bears will be examined throughout this year's vet check. Since anaesthesia is a stress situation for each animal - and particularly for giants like these - only those inhabitants of DANCING BEAR PARK Belitsa who have a history (or show signs) of continuous health problems are chosen for a treatment. Dr. Marc Loose has come to Belitsa for the fourth time: the German dentist treats the bears without charge. The veterinarian on location is Prof. Aminkov from the University of Sofia. 7-year-old Seida and 27-year-old Natasha are their biggest challenge: the former owners of the bears have caused profound damage to the soft tissues of the jaws by drilling holes for nose and jaw rings.
Complicated wounds

Destroying a bear's mouth has been a common practice in the bleak Bears 2 Sera of keeping dancing bears for tourist amusement - a tradition which was terminated by FOUR PAWS in 2007. But the physical ailment Seida and Natasha had to live with has altered the structure of their throats since eating and drinking had become a difficult and painful task for the two.

Nonetheless, the medical staff at the DANCING BEAR PARK Belitsa is confident that suturing the wounds professionally will make their lives easier in the near future - along with the ideal surroundings the bears live in now. Together with the other Serbian newcomer, 25-year-old Milena, Seida and Nastasija have adapted exceptionally well to their habitat.
A worthy life

Bears 3 SThe biggest health problem plaguing all former dancing bears is the bad state of their teeth. Severe malnutrition, abuse and careless handling have left their marks on the animals at DANCING BEAR PARK Belitsa. With the expert work of Dr. Loose however, astonishing improvements were accomplished over the years - many bears are now leading lives free of pain and capable of handling species-appropriate food. While ending the tradition of dancing bears stands as one of the colossal achievements of FOUR PAWS, caring for the bears in the years to come is a series of equally challenging tasks. The vet check of May 18 to 22, 2009 is surely one of them.

Four paws