Say goodbye to Kobe Lincoln Park Zoo’s female polar bear

Say goodbye to Kobe Lincoln Park Zoo’s female polar bear

Sad, sad news to report from Lincoln Park Zoo (LPZ). On October 19, the animal care staff at LPZ made the difficult but humane decision to euthanize Kobe, the zoo’s female polar bear.

Hopes were high when Kobe arrived at the zoo this March to join Siku to start a family at the zoo’s new $15-million Polar Bear habitat where Suki had been baching it out since the posh space opened in November 2016.

Video of Kobe checking out her new home at LPZ.

The plan was to mate the older woman Kobe, a 17-year-old who had moved from Pittsburgh (Zoo) to Chicago to breed with the handsome younger 7-year-old Siku to start a family.

Kobe and Suki getting to know each other in April 2017.

Kobe and Siku  getting to know each other in April 2017.

Initially, Kobe was quarantined but had access to a portion of the exhibit space she was to share with Siku where they were to get to know each other under the watchful eye of zoo staff.

Siku at Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

  Siku at Lincoln Park Zoo. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer had recently been experiencing illness and discomfort that led to reduced mobility. Despite repeated diagnostic and ongoing treatment efforts, Kobe’s health significantly deteriorated until she went into renal failure.

“During her time in Chicago, Kobe quickly became a favorite of zoo staff, members, volunteers and guests,” said General Curator Dave Bernier. “Kobe spent most of her time exploring her habitat, interacting with keepers and initiating bouts of play with Siku.”

While the zoo staff is still coping with their unexpected loss, they must begin the task to find a companion animal or  potential mate for Siku who remains in good health and had previously been separated from Kobe as denning season began.

Animal care staff continues to monitor his behavior.

The median life expectancy for female polar bears who survive their first year of life (a very risky time period for most mammal species) is 24.3 years, meaning half of the population dies before and half after 24.3 years of age.

Click here to see Siku in happier days.

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