ABQ BioPark polar bear dies after health decline


Koluk floated on his back while playing with a giant plastic ball in an exhibit at the ABQ BioPark Zoo in February 1998. (Aaron Wilson/Albuquerque Journal)

They say the good die young. Sometimes, they get old first.

That was the case for Koluk, a 26-year-old polar bear who has called ABQ BioPark home since the late 1990s. The city of Albuquerque announced on Friday that Koluk died “after a rapid decline in health this week.”

Biopark officials said the decision was made after staff confirmed that Koluk had severe liver and kidney disease during a recent test.

According to the release sent out Friday, Koluk is ahead of the bear-three curve. Koluk’s twin brother and exhibit mate Kiska are still in good health and active, but are now the Biopark’s only polar bear.

Officials said Kiska “adjusted well as a lone bear” during Coluk’s illness.

Koluk entered the pool at the ABQ BioPark Zoo on July 15, 2001. (Rose Palmisano/Albuquerque Journal)

The released states, Koluk and Kiska, were born in November 1996 at Utah’s Hogle Zoo and transferred to the Biopark in October 1997.

“Kuluk was one of the most playful animals in the biopark, and he was a favorite with guests and staff,” ABQ BioPark Assistant Mammal Keeper Casey Taylor said in a release. “We are so fortunate to have taken care of Koluk, and we are heartbroken by this loss.”

Even in his old age, when Koluk “loved to dive into the pool to catch fish and frozen treats,” his “playfulness was constant.” Koluk reportedly developed a “deep level of trust” with the staff, which helped him cope with various challenges and was “a key part of his robust health and longevity.”

Polar bear brothers Koluk and Kiska relax in their home at ABQ BioPark Zoo, which is hosting a series of events today to celebrate International Polar Day. (Source: ABQ BioPark Zoo)

The information released by Koluk in 2010 In 2019, he revealed that he had a heart attack and took medication to control the condition. In recent days, workers have seen “loss of appetite, lethargy and lethargy” in the bear.

A full examination was conducted on May 19 and staff discovered that Koluk was suffering from severe liver and kidney disease, the statement said. Since then, staff have given Koluk “supportive care” and further tests have shown the disease has improved.

Biopark staff decided to save Koluk from death.

Koluk tried to cool off in July 2001. (Rose Palmisano/Albuquerque Journal)


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