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SeaWorld San Diego mourns unexpected death of polar bear

Posted: 4:11 PM, Apr 18, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-18 21:54:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - SeaWorld San Diego mourned the passing of Szenja the polar bear, Tuesday, after she died unexpectedly. She was 21-years-old.

Caregivers said they noticed a loss of appetite and energy over the last week and had been monitoring her condition. Her death was still unexpected, according to officials. 

A necropsy is scheduled to be performed, though results will not be received for "several weeks."

"Szenja was a beloved member of our animal family, so this is a very difficult day for all of us," Al Garver, SeaWorld San Diego’s vice president of zoological operations, said. "Szenja not only touched the hearts of those who have cared for her over the last two decades, but also the millions of guests who had the chance to see her in person."

The park said nearly 50 million guests have met Szenja over the years and she was essential in providing education, research, and awareness of polar bears globally.

"Szenja will be greatly missed not only by the zoological staff at Wild Arctic, but by all SeaWorld team members," the park said in a release.

Szenja lived at the park for nearly two decades. Born at the Wuppertal Zoo in Germany in October 1995, she was brought to San Diego when the park opened the Wild Arctic exhibit in 1997.

Polar bears generally live for 15 to 18 years in the wild, according to the park, but a small percentage can live up to 20 to 30 years.