Polar bear knocked out for hay fever test

Telegraph Reporters
Victor, a 620 kg polar bear, is given an allergy test at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park near Doncaster after he and a smaller bear, Nobby, began suffering from abscesses on their feet.  - PA

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.

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

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.

Victor, a 620 kg polar bear, is given an allergy test at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park near Doncaster after he and a smaller bear, Nobby, began suffering from abscesses on their feet Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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.

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.

Victor the polar bear undergoes pollen allergy test

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

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

"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.

A team of three vets, a nurse, three dermatologists and five more park staff were on hand to carry out tests while the bear was under sedation. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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."