'Beautiful' bear dies at zoo Anana: The 8-year-old polar bear became ill last week. A veterinarian and two medical doctors operated but she died Saturday.

March 23, 1998|By Timothy Wheeler | Timothy Wheeler,SUN STAFF

Magnet the polar bear will have to draw crowds at the Baltimore Zoo by himself now. His popular female partner, Anana, died over the weekend.

The 8-year-old bear, whose name means "beautiful" in the Inuit language, had been ill since Wednesday, said Jill J. Seipe, zoo spokeswoman.

Dr. Mike Cranfield, the zoo's chief veterinarian, initially diagnosed the bear's inability to hold down food as an intestinal problem, but blood tests were inconclusive. Anana's condition worsened over the next two days, so Cranfield performed emergency exploratory surgery on her at the zoo, which occupies 160 acres in Druid Hill Park.

Assisting the veterinarian were two local surgeons, Drs. Nathan Berger and Joseph Buscema, respectively specialists in human obstetrics and gynecology and in gastrointestinal problems, Seipe said.

The five-hour operation was unsuccessful. Anana died late Saturday afternoon without recovering from the anesthesia she received. A necropsy yesterday at Johns Hopkins Hospital pathology department indicated that the bear had a severe intestinal infection, but the cause of death has not been determined, the zoo spokeswoman said.

Polar bears usually live 25 to 30 years and illnesses are rare. "Normally, polar bears, because they're scavengers, are pretty resistant," Seipe said. "But whatever it was just overcame her."

Anana was acquired in 1990 from Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. She and Magnet were one of the zoo's star attractions, especially during the annual ZooLights winter holiday celebration.

Magnet has not caught whatever ailment Anana had, Seipe said, but he seems to have noted her absence. "At this point, he just seems a little confused as to where his friend is," she said.

Anana has no offspring because zoo officials never allowed her to mate. The zoo has no immediate plans to replace her, Seipe said.

Pub Date: 3/23/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.