Polar bear at Assiniboine Park Zoo dies at nine

The Assiniboine Park Zoo has sadly announced the passing of one of its polar bears.

The zoo said the 9-year-old bear, Aurora, died Tuesday during a dental procedure.

Aurora was rescued near the Churchill airport and was transferred to the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre in October 2013 as a cub. She was later brought to the zoo, where staff noticed she had severe dental issues believed to be “damaged from eating rocks and sticks in her attempt to survive without the care and protection of her mother.”

Since her introduction at the zoo, Aurora has been receiving regular veterinary treatment in an effort to relieve her pain, treat infections and prevent further tooth damage.

“Tuesday’s procedure was performed under anesthesia with the assistance of a specialized veterinary dentist,” said a spokesperson for the Assiniboine Park Zoo in a statement.

“The procedure went well, but as the team was preparing to reverse the anesthesia, Aurora went into cardiac arrest. Veterinary staff and animal care professionals did absolutely everything they could to save her, but sadly she passed away.”

The zoo will conduct testing at a later time into any possible underlying conditions that may have caused the death.

“Everyone at the Zoo is deeply saddened by this sudden loss,” said Grant Furniss, Sr. Director, Zoological Operations, Assiniboine Park Zoo. “Aurora was a beautiful polar bear and a wonderful ambassador for her species. She was loved by the team who cared for her every day and will be tremendously missed.”

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