Midland Zoo is saddened to announce that Homer, the beloved 16-year-old polar bear, unexpectedly died this morning at 7 a.m., only an hour after his feeding.
The cause of death at this time is unknown but zoo director, Chris Bacon, assures that there will be investigations that take place to determine the exact cause.
“The zoo will perform a necropsy to try to determine the cause of death. The results will not be available for several weeks,” senior staff veterinarian Dr. Shanda Lear said.
The two polar bears housed in the exhibit with Homer, 9-year-old male Yukon and 10-year-old female McKenzie, were immediately removed from the polar bear exhibit and are now being monitored by veterinary staff.
Polar bears have thrived at Midland zoo since 1985 with their unique exhibit that allows the bears to engage in natural behaviors: playing in manufactured snow, digging in gravel, and hunting trout in the chilled pool.
It was only last week that the zoo mourned the death of 10-year-old female bobcat, Regina, whom died of renal failure last week and two weeks ago, a 6-year-old female giraffe, Kenya, died after her neck broke when her horns got caught in her stall. The three deaths all have been heart-breaking but are in no way related.
“Homer was a very curious and playful polar bear and we will miss him terribly,” zookeeper Sara Getty said.