Takoda, the Youngest of the Oregon Zoo’s Black Bear Family, Has Died

The bear was undergoing a routine medical procedure.

Takoda Black bear Takoda takes a soak in a tub at the Oregon Zoo. ©Oregon Zoo/ photo by Shervin Hess

The Oregon Zoo has announced that Takoda, the youngest member of its black bear family, died Friday during a routine medical procedure. He was 13.

The bear went into cardiac arrest while under anesthesia for a routine health check, and despite the efforts of zoo employees, Takoda could not be revived.

“Our vet staff did everything possible to bring him back,” Travis Koons, who oversees the zoo’s Great Northwest area, said in a statement. “They were performing CPR for more than a half hour.”

Takoda, whose name meant “friend to all” in Sioux, ended up at the Oregon Zoo after wildlife officials rescued him in Montana in 2010. At the time, he only weighed 3 pounds, having been orphaned as a cub. Fortunately, the bear was nursed back to health, but could not be released in the wild.

While at the Oregon Zoo, Takoda gained fame as a fearless climber, summiting the towering Doug firs in his habitat. “It was breathtaking to see a 400-pound bear so high up in one of those giant trees,” Koons added. “A little scary for us, to be honest, but black bears are natural climbers.”

Takoda Black bear Takoda climbing high in a tree in the Black Bear Ridge habitat. © Oregon Zoo / photo by Charlie Rutkowski. (Charlie Rutkowski)

The zoo updated its website about Takoda’s death, and continued to mourn his loss over the weekend.

“It is just devastating for the zoo staff and really the entire zoo community,” Koons said. “Takoda brought so much joy. He was the life and spirit not only of the group of black bears but also the care staff. He was loved by everyone—from the older bears who adopted him into their group to the keepers who cared for him every day to thousands of fans on social media. It is heartbreaking.”

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