Zoo Miami Bear Receives Physical Exam

Hank’s impressive claws are clearly visible as Zoo Miami veterinary extern, Megan Rabelo, monitors Hank’s heartrate during the procedure.
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“Hank,” an 11-year-old, 246-pound sloth bear, was immobilized this week and transported to Zoo Miami’s Animal Hospital to have a comprehensive physical exam.   This procedure is part of a preventative medicine program and served as preparation for a move to a new habitat.  

The exam included determining his weight, collecting blood and urine, and taking a series of radiographs.  He also received an ultrasound of the heart, liver and spleen, a dental exam, and an endoscopy to evaluate his gastro-intestinal health.  Finally, he received his rabies vaccination as well as a de-wormer.  The procedures were directed by Zoo Miami Associate Veterinarian, Dr. Rodney Schellbacher with the assistance of the Animal Health and Animal Science teams. 


The results of the exam did not reveal any abnormalities and Hank has since made a full recovery.  He has been transported to a different habitat at Zoo Miami which will give him the opportunity to exhibit his natural solitary behaviors.  Previously, he was time-sharing the sloth bear habitat with Keematee and their two young cubs.   


Sloth bears are solitary and found in moist and dry forests of the Indian subcontinent.  They feed primarily on fruit and insects – especially termites, and are missing their two top front teeth which enables them to create a straw with their long lips and suck up termites and other insects quickly and effectively.  Their long shaggy coat does not have an undercoat, so it helps keep them cool in their native warm climate while protecting them from biting insects. 


Hank was born at the Smithsonian National Zoo on December 19th, 2012 and arrived at Zoo Miami on November 30, 2016.


Zoo Miami is proud to have provided thousands of dollars directly to sloth bear conservation in India through the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment at the Zoo Miami Foundation.


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