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Celebrating Sir Jasper

Nic actually bowed as she came into the surgery this morning and Belinda beamed as she held (and smelled) his earthy paw.

Here was our majestic Jasper – an ambassador in every sense of the word since arriving with us in late 2000 – now snoozing gently under anaesthetic and patiently waiting for a dental to remove his upper and lower right canines.

Typically, broken canines are removed after the farmers deliberately cut them down to gum level to make the bears safer to milk, or when the bears shatter them on the cage bars as they chew relentlessly over the years in captive frustration.

With Jasper, however, his teeth were broken after years of relentless playing with best friends Banjo, Delaney, and Frank.

His Chinese carers, Erdi Ri Bo, Liu Xiao Yan and Guo Xiao Yan followed Nic into the surgery and couldn't resist stroking his coarse black fur, laughing at his famous yellow eyebrows and admiring him for the thoroughly “nice” bear he is.

A hands-up favourite with everyone in Animals Asia, Jasper is a perfect example of how truly forgiving these bears are, when they have every right to hate the human species responsible for their previous pain.

From the moment he arrived after spending 15 years in a crush cage which literally pinned him to the bars, Jasper proved he was everybody’s friend and had no time for horrible memories or revenge. The crude metal catheter in his wounded abdomen draining his bile was long forgotten as he got on with the present and worked his way into the hearts of bears and people alike.

No different today, our “peacemaker”, Jasper, breaks up any scuffles in his House and welcomes in new bears like long-lost friends. One of the few bears to know his name, he’ll also walk curiously over to investigate what we have – usually apple or his very favourite, peanut butter.

But now because of excess bear play and fun here, he was needing a dental and, laid out on the table, everyone was queuing up to softly touch this gently sleeping bear.

Wednesday update – naturally our gorgeous boy sailed through the surgery and is now back outside in House 2 showing off his toothy grin.

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