Koluk, ABQ BioPark polar bear, passes away at 26

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The ABQ BioPark is mourning the loss of their beloved polar bear, Koluk, who recently passed away at age 26.

Koluk’s health reportedly declined rapidly last week. Then, BioPark officials chose to euthanize him Friday.

Last week, officials reported Koluk was sluggish, stiff and didn’t have an appetite. After an exam last Friday, veterinarians diagnosed him with severe liver and kidney disease.

This week, animal care staff provided supportive care to Koluk. However, the disease progressed to the point where veterinarians euthanized him.

Koluk, 26, lived a long life for a polar bear. The median life expectancy for a bear like him is around 21 years.

The BioPark remembers him as a gentle giant who maintained his fondness for diving into the pool to catch fish and treats, even at an older age. He also developed trust with the animal care team and often voluntarily participated in his health check-ups.

“Koluk was one of the most playful animals at the BioPark, and he was a favorite among guests and staff. We are so fortunate to have cared for Koluk, and we are heartbroken with this loss,” said Casey Taylor, ABQ BioPark assistant mammal curator.

Koluk’s twin brother, Kiska, is in good health and is still active in his habitat. The care team gave him extra attention and say he adjusted well to being on his own while Koluk fell ill.

Koluk and Kiska were born in November 1996 at the Hogle Zoo in Utah. They moved to the BioPark in October 1997.

The BioPark released this video here detailing Koluk and Kiska’s lives together.