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Midland Zoo Mourns Death Of 16-Year-Old Homer, Oldest Polar Bear


MIDLAND ZOO POLAR BEAR DEATH PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Katya Podkovyroff Lewis

(202) - 885 - 3413

Email Katya Podkovyroff Lewis

Washington, D.C. - Midland Zoo is sad to announce that our oldest bear, 16-year-old Homer, was found dead at 7 a.m. this morning.

Zookeeper Sara Getty, who discovered the floating body in the pool, worked closely with Homer and the other polar bears.

“Homer was a very curious and playful polar bear and we will miss him terribly,” Getty said.

The other two polar bears, a nine-year-old male named Yukon and a 10-year-old female named McKenzie, were removed from the exhibit and are now being monitored by veterinary staff.

According to zoo director Chris Bacon, the incident will be investigated to determine the exact cause of death.

“We will do everything in our power to determine how this bear died,” Bacon said. “Animal welfare and the preservation of species are our primary goals here at the zoo.”

Homer is the third animal death at the Midland Zoo in recent weeks. Previous loses this past month are a 10-year-old bobcat named Regina and a 6-year-old giraffe named Kenya; however, it has been confirmed that the deaths are unrelated.

The zoo’s senior staff veterinarian, Dr. Shanda Lear, said that it will be several weeks until any more information will be available.

The Midland Zoo has been a home to polar bears since 1985. Our unique exhibit allows the bears to thrive in natural behaviors, playing in manufactured snow, digging in gravel and hunting trout in the chilled pool. The bears are ambassadors for their wild relatives, educating zoo visitors about these threatened animals.

NOTE TO THE EDITORS: High resolution photos of Homer are available for download here.

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