Kenai, one of Minnesota Zoo's brown bears, dies at age 17

Haines & Kenai
Brown bears Haines and Kenai are seen in 2008, the year they arrived at the Minnesota Zoo after being orphaned as cubs in Alaska. Kenai died this week at age 17.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center file photo

One of the three brown bears at the Minnesota Zoo has died.

Zoo officials announced Tuesday that Kenai had late-stage liver cancer. He was 17 years old and the largest of the trio, which also includes Haines and Sadie.

All three have been at the zoo since 2008, after being found orphaned as cubs in Alaska.

“Although unrelated, they acted in many ways like siblings, with Kenai being lovingly referred to as the laid-back ‘little brother’ — always willing to tag along with Haines and let Sadie be the unquestioned leader of their group,” the zoo said in a social media post announcing Kenai’s passing.

“This is a hard loss for our staff and the zoo as a whole. Kenai was an important ambassador for his wild counterparts and his presence will be dearly missed,” zoo officials wrote.

The remaining two brown bears, Haines and Sadie, remain in a “behind the scenes” habitat this winter at the zoo in Apple Valley while in torpor, or light hibernation.

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