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Zoo Miami sloth bear undergoes general physical exam, endoscopic exam

6-year-old sloth bear named Hank checked out after vomiting, spokesman says

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(Ron Magill/Zoo Miami)

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A 6-year-old, 258-pound sloth bear at Zoo Miami underwent a general physical exam, as well as an endoscopic exam last week.

Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill said in a news release Tuesday that zookeepers had noticed that the bear named Hank had vomited on more than one occasion and was not as eager to eat his food.

Magill said the Animal Health Department decided to do the endoscopy to see if there were any abnormalities within Hank's gastrointestinal tract. 

He said Hank underwent a general physical, which included getting blood drawn and receiving several X-rays.

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Magill said an endoscope was then inserted through the sloth bear's mouth, which "traveled down into his stomach to reveal the condition of his gastrointestinal tract and biopsies were taken to ensure that nothing abnormal was developing."

The endoscopy went well and did not reveal any abnormalities, Magill said.

Hank is now back at his exhibit and his appetite has reportedly returned.

Magill said zookeepers will still keep a close eye on him to make sure that the vomiting doesn't continue.

According to Magill, sloth bears are found in moist and dry forests in India and feed mostly on fruits and insects.

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Magill said they especially like 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."

Hank was born at the Smithsonian National Zoo on Dec. 19, 2012. He arrived at Zoo Miami on Nov. 30, 2016.


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