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Pollen allergy test for Victor the polar bear

A team of three vets, a nurse, three dermatologists and five more park staff were on hand when 97.6 stone Victor needed to be given an allergy test.

It is not just hay fever sufferers who have struggled with pollen this summer – two of the polar bears at Yorkshire Wildlife Park have been caused major discomfort too.

A team of three vets, a nurse, three dermatologists and five more park staff were on hand when 97.6 stone (620kg) Victor needed to be given an allergy test.

Such was the bear’s bulk, Press Association photographer Danny Lawson was also asked to put down his camera and help manoeuvre Victor into a comfortable position after he had been anaesthetised.

The major operation was put in place after Victor and his smaller friend, Nobby, began suffering from abscesses on their feet.

Polar bear is given allergy test
A team of vets, dematologists and other staff were on hand to help give Victor his allergy test (Danny Lawson/PA)

Staff suspected it was caused by an allergic reaction to pollen after moving from concrete bear pit enclosures elsewhere to the more natural setting at the attraction near Doncaster.

Dermatologists from Liverpool University were brought in to carry out tests on Victor’s skin, once he had safely been put under, to verify the theory.

The results will be known in the coming days.

Polar bear is given allergy test
Victor was anaesthetised for his allergy test (Danny Lawson/PA)

Animal manager Debbie Porter said: “It has been a bonkers day.

“Victor was shaved and there are about 50 test sites on his side.

Polar bear is given allergy test
Victor was shaved and there were about 50 test sites on his side (Danny Lawson/PA)

“Fingers crossed we can find out which allergies he has and we can set about making life more comfortable for him.”

Ms Porter said it was often the case that bears which had previously been in sterile, frequently disinfected enclosures developed pollen allergies when they were moved to more natural quarters.

Polar bear is given allergy test
Keepers said Victor seemed none the worse for his experience (Danny Lawson/PA)

Antibiotics have previously helped – while antihistamines have not – but Ms Porter said finding the right serum for Victor and fellow sufferer Nobby was the best idea long term.

And he seemed none the worse for the experience on Wednesday, with Ms Porter saying: “He’s come around nicely, he’s very calm and seems settled.”

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