A beloved polar bear has died unexpectedly this week at SeaWorld in San Diego, just weeks after its companion was moved to a zoo.
Szenja, a 21-year-old female, died at the park on Tuesday after caregivers said she had suffered a loss of appetite and energy for about a week.
A necropsy is planned, but the park says it could be several weeks before the cause of her death is known, the Associated Press reported.
Szenja, who was born at a German zoo, was brought by Seaworld when the park opened its Wild Arctic exhibit in 1997.
Until February she shared an enclosure with SeaWorld’s only other polar bear, a female named Snowflake.
Snowflake was moved to Pittsburgh zoo despite thousands of people signing a petition to keep the pair together.
Tracy Remain, PETA executive vice president, told NBC: “After losing her companion of 20 years when SeaWorld shipped Snowflake to the Pittsburgh Zoo in order to breed more miserable polar bears, Szenja did what anyone would do when they lose all hope, she gave up.
“This should be a wake-up call to SeaWorld: Stop breeding and shipping animals around, close the animal exhibits, and retire the animals to sanctuaries.
“Until it does, this ship will keep sinking.”
Polar bears can live about 18 years in the wild and 20 to 30 years or more in captivity.
The oldest polar bear in the United States, a 36-year-old female called Uulu, died last Friday at the San Francisco Zoo.