Conservation, News

A sad day: Aging polar bear, Tundra, dies at the Detroit Zoo


The fun days of the Detroit Zoo have gotten somber. The aging polar bear, Tundra, has died.  She came the zoo from Indianapolis earlier this year.

“We are saddened to share the news that Tundra, a 29-year-old female polar bear at the Detroit Zoo, has passed away,” the zoo says on its Facebook page. “The elderly bear arrived here in June to live out the remainder of her life after the Indianapolis Zoo permanently closed its polar bear exhibit. Tundra appeared seriously ill on Sunday morning and was examined by our veterinarians, but the cause of her illness was not evident on examination. Staff were with her through the night and by this morning it was apparent she was continuing to decline and her quality of life was significantly diminished. We made the difficult but humane decision to euthanize her this morning.”


Tundra was one of the oldest living polar bears. At the age of 29, she has outlived the average lifespan of her species,  which is 5-18 years in the wild and 21-24 years in zoos.

Her home was at the Arctic Ring of Life habitat, which opened in 2001 and is one of the largest polar bear habitats in North America.



Tundra’e frolicking and splashing may have been short-lived, but still she had been around longer than any other polar bear the zoo visitors will likely ever see.

A necropsy will be performed to try to understand the cause of her death.

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