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Assiniboine Zoo polar bear dies during dental procedure


A female polar bear living at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg died during a dental procedure while under anesthesia.

The zoo confirmed that nine-year-old polar bear Aurora died on Tuesday.

“It’s always very sad when we lose animals at the zoo and in this particular case it was even more difficult in the circumstances of her passing,” said Grant Furniss, the zoo’s senior director of zoological operations.

According to the zoo, Aurora has had recurring dental issues since she was rescued and transferred to the zoo as a cub in 2013. She was first found wandering alone around Churchill Airport when she was about a year.

The zoo said he believed his teeth had been damaged by eating rocks and sticks in an effort to survive without his mother.

According to Furniss, Aurora has already had several dental procedures to relieve her pain, treat the infection and prevent her dental issues from developing into life-threatening issues.

Tuesday’s procedure was performed under anesthesia and with the assistance of a specialist veterinary dentist, the zoo said.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo’s senior director of zoological operations, Grant Furniss, confirmed details of Aurora’s death at a press conference Thursday.

According to the zoo, the procedure went well, but as the team prepared to reverse the anesthesia, Aurora went into cardiac arrest.

“The vet team did everything they could to bring her back but sadly she passed away,” Furniss said.

Furniss said while further testing is being done, preliminary investigations into an underlying condition or cause of death are inconclusive.

“We’re going to pursue and try to find out exactly what happened to Aurora,” Furniss said.

The zoo said Aurora was an assertive and strong-willed female bear who could often be seen snuggling and spending her time with Kaska, another female bear, and played a protective role with Willow, the zoo’s youngest female. .

“Aurora was a much loved bear and she brought joy to hundreds of thousands of people coming in and out of the zoo,” Furniss said.

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