Lion Gets Root Canal In Kansas Zoo (VIDEO)

02/15/2011 09:05 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Root canals are hard on the patient. But if the patient is a lion, the root canal is perhaps even harder on the dentist.

Mumbasa, an African lion at the Brit Spaugh Zoo in Kansas, grabbed onto his fence and chipped an inch-long tooth on Friday night. According to NBC News, time was of the essence, as zookeepers had 48 hours to save Mumbasa's tooth before the lion would lose it for good. Zookeepers quickly assembled a team and successfully performed the procedure on Monday morning.

The zoo is working to obtain industry accreditation, which could be monetarily beneficial to it. According to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, accredited zoos are distinguished from "roadside zoos" by meeting "high professional standards" that zoo visitors can trust. Many zoos have fallen under public scrutiny for the mistreatment of their animals. The Chinese government has recently issued a zoo animal abuse ban which prohibits the sale of animal parts, pulling the teeth of tiger cubs for public handling, and paid cat attacks. Some argue that zoos are guilty of mistreatment even when they do not physically abuse animals. Locking a wild animal in a small cage for human entertainment is a hotly contested issue.

As for Mumbasa, it appears that he was well taken care of -- but should he be in this zoo environment where he was biting on his enclosure in the first place?

WATCH the lion's root canal:

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