Oregon Zoo Black Bear Dies During Medical Procedure

Portland, Ore. — The Oregon Zoo is in mourning today after the sudden and unexpected loss of Takoda, the youngest member of the zoo’s black bear family. The bear died during a routine medical procedure, leaving zoo staff and the entire community in shock.

According to Travis Koons, who oversees the zoo’s Great Northwest area, Takoda brought “so much joy” to everyone he encountered. “He was the life and spirit not only of the group of black bears but also the care staff,” Koons said. “It is heartbreaking.”

Takoda went into cardiac arrest while under anesthesia for a routine health check, Koons said. The zoo’s vet staff did everything they could to revive him, performing CPR for more than half an hour, but were unsuccessful.

Takoda arrived at the Oregon Zoo in November 2010, after being rescued as an orphaned cub in Montana. He quickly became a fan favorite, wowing visitors and staff each spring by climbing a 50-foot Douglas fir tree in his habitat to feast on new growth. As an adult, he was known for his playful personality and love of splashing around in a 300-gallon tub of cool water on warm days.

The loss of Takoda is a devastating blow to the zoo and the community. To watch a 2017 video telling Takoda’s story, visit the Oregon Zoo’s YouTube channel.

As part of Metro, the Oregon Zoo is committed to conservation efforts to save endangered species such as California condors, northwestern pond turtles, and various butterflies and frogs. The Oregon Zoo Foundation supports these efforts through donations from members, donors, and corporate and foundation partners. To contribute, visit oregonzoo.org/give.