A three-year old Asiatic black bear by the name of Champa has undergone brain surgery, and in the process has become the first of her kind to do so.
Champa is based in the mountains of northern Laos, and after losing her vision and becoming more violent vets in her sanctuary came to the conclusion that she was suffering from hydrocephalus, otherwise know as ‘water on the brain.’
Due to this condition she constantly felt as if she was suffering from a migraine. Previously, Champa had always stood out due to her protruding forehead and she often had difficulties socialising with other bears around her.
However, rather than being put down because of her conditions, the Buddhist traditions in Laos, as well as various wildlife protection laws, meant that Champa was forced to undergo a six surgery.
A South African veterinary surgeon was flown in from her usual place of work at the Edinburgh Zoo, in Scotland, to complete the procedure.
This operation, which took place in February, consisted of drilling a small hole behind one of the bear’s ears, before then using an ultrasound probe to confirm that she was indeed hydrocephalic.
A thin tube was then inserted into her brain, which then threaded under her skin to the abdomen, where they drained the fluid from the cavity.
Matt Hunt, the chief executive of the sanctuary, noted that Champa was instantly different after the ordeal. “There was a lot more recognition,” he stated. “We can’t know if her vision is fully recovered, but everyone certainly believes her vision has improved.”
The sanctuary where Champa is based is entitled Free the Bears, and protects these bears from wildlife traffickers. The Asiatic black bear is currently listed as vulnerable on the list of threatened species, whilst its bile is often used in Chinese and Korean medicine.