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Thu May 05 20:03:52 SAST 2016

Killer polar bear had toothache

Sapa-dpa | 16 August, 2011 16:06
The polar bear which attacked a group of British campers on Friday and was shot by one of the group members, is examined by experts in Longyearbyen
The polar bear which attacked a group of British campers on Friday and was shot by one of the group members, is examined by experts in Longyearbyen
Image by: SCANPIX NORWAY / REUTERS

A polar bear that killed a member of a British expedition on Svalbard, in northern Norway, suffered from severe tooth pain which could have explained its aggressive behaviour, veterinary experts says.

There were however no signs that the bear had rabies, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute said.

The August 5 attack claimed the life of 17-year-old Horatio Chapple, while four other expedition members were injured by the bear. The expedition was organized by the organization British Schools Exploring Society (BSES).

An inspection of the polar bear's skull showed that "the teeth were very worn. Nerves were exposed on two of the canine teeth and several other front teeth," veterinary Bjornar Ytrehus said.

"This was likely very painful and affected the bear's behaviour," he said.

Earlier results have suggested that the polar bear had little body fat and an empty stomach, suggesting it was starving.

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