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"Kiki" - a wasted life

This is more than we can stand....two more bears have succumbed to liver cancer – leaving our team to pick up the pieces and end the lives of animals who deserved so much more. Many walls have been kicked in frustration since the bears arrived late on Monday night. It is only Wednesday and already four bears are lying in grassy mounds by the river, finally at peace. 

Cutting Kiki out of a cage that was squeezing the life from his body, it wasn’t hard to understand why he was so flat and unresponsive. My enduring memory of this bear was when he desperately stuck out his tongue for a lick of fruity shake and then frantically clawed at his mouth clearly in anguish and pain. All we could see on the outside was red and ulcerated lips, but little were we prepared for what was to come.




For long periods Kiki had moaned almost continuously and showed evidence of severe abdominal discomfort. His moans disturbed us deeply as we have learned from experience that they signal a bear at death’s door – and we wasted no time in anaesthetising him for an emergency health check.

He smelled strongly of necrosis – severely diseased and rotting flesh. All four canines had been cut or broken off, and several teeth had been torn away, along with sections of the gum – and all of his remaining teeth were shattered beyond repair. 

Unbelievably, his right eye was rotten – as a result of an ulcer that had festered for months – and his left eye showed signs of disease as well. His claws were torn, bleeding and infected, with the familiar “bristles” present on the pads of a bear that has never walked in years. An ulcer flowing with pus had left a deep hole about six inches wide in his back leg, with the flesh rotted nearly to the bone.

The truly awful smell of his body and detection of fluid in the abdomen made us suspect peritonitis, and he was immediately taken to surgery. Opening Kiki’s abdomen revealed the stomach and intestines to be grossly distended with gas, which was compressing the heart and lungs, causing immeasurable pain.

Still we prayed, and still our team continued to work on this sleeping bear, with hope eternal, until the room went silent.......and Kiki was dead. The post-mortem showed another list of abuse, which was almost impossible to comprehend... including liver cancer, large and painful stones in the gall bladder, pus infused bile, a diseased spleen, septicaemia on the spine (which was also found to be arthritic). This was a bear that had no hope of ever pulling through.....RIP Kiki, from a team so ashamed to think of your miserable, wasted life.

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