Dec 13, 2010 2:01 PM

One of Reid Park Zoo's polar bears has died

TUCSON - Boris, one of Reid Park Zoo's polar bears, died Friday evening following a routine medical procedure.

Zoo officials suspect the 11-year-old bear died from a reaction to the anesthesia used while performing a physical examination Friday. Boris woke from the anesthesia and immediately showed symptoms of an anesthetic reaction.

"We were all shocked and saddened by his death," states Susan Basford, Zoo Administrator. "Unlike the death of an elderly animal you are preparing to lose, the death of an animal like this is devastating."

Boris was brought to Tucson from the Denver Zoo in 2001, and had a history of low thyroid levels and dermatitis, zoo officials say. He had been displaying unusual behavior over the past few weeks, including loss of appetite, lethargic periods, foot sensitivity and agitation.

The final results of Boris' tests will be released in the next few days. The zoo has not been considering replacing Boris at this time. The remaining female polar bear, Kobe, is doing well.

Photo courtesy tucsonzoo.org

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