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."
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."