The Louisville Zoo’s oldest polar bear passed away today. Details are unknown at this time and will be available upon a necropsy.
Arki came to the Louisville Zoo in February, 2011 from the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois where she was born in November of 1984. She was the first polar bear to inhabit the new Glacier Run exhibit which opened in April 2011.
Polar bears can live into their early 30s in managed systems, however most live into their mid 20s.
Arki was considered one of the most prolific polar bears in accredited zoos with five successful litters. In fact, one of the other polar bears that calls Glacier Run home – Siku - is Arki’s grandson. Arki’s offspring Marty is Siku’s father.
“Arki was a great ambassador for her species,’ General Animal Curator Steve Wing commented. “She’s been a great addition to Glacier Run where she flourished in her last few years. Arki and the Glacier Run staff had a special bond and this is going to be a tough loss.”
Glacier Run is now home to two polar bear cubs – 2 year-old wild-born female Alaskan cub, Qannik, and 3-year old male cub Siku. A family of grizzly bears – Mother Inga and her 7-year old cubs, Rita and Otis also call Glacier Run home.