Topeka Zoo’s black bear, Indie, dies

The Topeka Zoo has announced the passing of its black bear Indie. (Source: WIBW)
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 1:23 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW/Gray News) - A zoo in Kansas said its black bear, named Indie, has died.

The Topeka Zoo announced the bear’s passing Thursday. It said Indie hadn’t been eating much the weekend before, but zookeepers didn’t take much note of it because it was not that unusual of behavior around this time of the year. On Monday, however, the zoo said Indie did not seem to be improving, and by Tuesday, she had suffered a seizure.

WIBW reports the zoo anesthetized Indie and evaluated her. The staff said her condition was unfortunately worsening, and the decision was made to euthanize her Wednesday.

Shanna Simpson, the zoo’s animal curator, said Indie’s odds seemed to be stacked against her at the beginning of her life. However, the bear was able to thrive and make a difference at the Topeka Zoo.

“She connected with thousands of people, capturing their hearts and helping people learn about the plight black bears face in the wild,” Simpson said. “She challenged our staff in so many ways, and we adored her. This is a shocking loss, and we are devastated.”

According to the zoo, Indie, short for independence, first arrived in its care in June 2014 after losing her mother. She was found in the backyard of an Oregon home by a young boy who carried the baby bear back to his mother. Upon seeing the bear, the mother called the local authorities.

Indie was in poor health when she arrived at the Topeka Zoo. The zoo said she weighed seven pounds and had a skin infection.

After an autopsy was conducted following Indie’s death, the zoo said its staff discovered abnormal tissue on her stomach and pancreas. The zoo said an external pathologist would do a further evaluation to determine the cause.

“When you devote your life to working and caring for animals, days like today are the most difficult,” Simpson said.