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Kobe The Polar Bear Dies At Lincoln Park Zoo, Was Mate To Siku

By Ted Cox | October 20, 2017 4:49pm | Updated on October 27, 2017 10:44am
 Kobe was a 16-year-old female from the Pittsburgh Zoo when she arrived in Lincoln Park earlier this year. She died Thursday.
Kobe was a 16-year-old female from the Pittsburgh Zoo when she arrived in Lincoln Park earlier this year. She died Thursday.
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Lincoln Park Zoo

LINCOLN PARK — Lincoln Park Zoo's polar bear newlyweds suffered a tragedy this week when Kobe had to be euthanized.

The zoo reported Friday that the 16-year-old female, introduced as a mate to 7-year-old Siku only this spring, "had recently been experiencing illness and discomfort that led to reduced mobility, which veterinarians and animal-care staff had been closely monitoring and treating to maintain the best possible care for Kobe.

"Despite repeated diagnostic and ongoing treatment efforts, Kobe’s health significantly deteriorated when she presented with renal failure," the zoo added in a news release. "Animal-care staff made the difficult but humane decision to euthanize Kobe."

 Siku and Kobe introduce themselves in polar bear fashion at Lincoln Park Zoo. They were said to be getting along famously.
Siku and Kobe introduce themselves in polar bear fashion at Lincoln Park Zoo. They were said to be getting along famously.
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Lincoln Park Zoo

Kobe had only arrived in Chicago in March from the Pittsburgh Zoo. She followed Siku, the first polar bear to occupy Lincoln Park Zoo's new Arctic Tundra Exhibit almost a year ago.

The two were intended to mate, and the zoo reported they almost immediately started to spend "quality time" together, but the zoo will now seek a new mate for Siku through the Species Survival Plan connecting zoos.

The zoo reported Friday that "Siku remains in good health and had previously been separated from Kobe as denning season began. Animal-care staff continue to monitor his behavior."

Kobe had already made a lasting impression, however.

"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."