Myanmar Bear Has Gigantic Tongue Removed

A bear was found in Myanmar and had to be rushed for an emergency surgery since his 6.5lb tongue dragged along the floor, preventing a poor animal from eating. This swelling is so bizarre, yet so dangerous and the cause is unknown.

Heather Bacon, an employee at University of Edinburgh’s royal school of veterinary studies said: “I’ve worked with bears for over 10 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s pretty astonishing.”

An Asiatic black bear which is known as a moon bear because of its unique golden color on the chest was spotted and rescued by the monks. This poor bear has led a difficult life since it was caught by Burmese traffickers who intended to send it to China, where they use bile from bears’ gall bladders in traditional medicine.

The monks saw the abnormality and contacted a local wet who got in touch with Bacon, and she and the other vets gathered in rural Myanmar, four hours from Yangon. According to the vets, the abnormally large tongue swelling is either a congenital problem or elephantiasis, which is an infection carried by the mosquitos.

At first, the vets tried to remove the excess tissue to reduce the swelling, but since that didn’t help they were forced to undertake a more serious procedure. Bacon said: “We had a lot of discussion and debate because it’s a major surgery that you cannot undo but we felt in terms of his quality of life it was the best way to give him as normal a life as possible.”

“Having to carry around 3kg of tongue is not normal and that’s a lot of weight on his jaw and head. Also, since he was dragging it around on the floor, from a hygiene point of view it’s pretty unpleasant and he couldn’t ever close his mouth. Now he should be able to close his mouth and manipulate food. It’s likely he’ll have a period of learning and adaptation because he’s obviously never experienced this before,” Bacon added.