Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Polar Bear, Last Inhabitant Of Vancouver Zoo, Dies

From Staff And Wire Reports

Polar bear Tuk, who arrived at the Stanley Park zoo in 1962 and was its last inhabitant, has died of pneumonia.

Tuk died surrounded by the park’s wildlife staff.

Wildlife manager Mike Mackintosh said Tuk was among six polar bear cubs that arrived at the zoo 35 years ago.

They were born on Southampton Island in Hudson’s Bay and donated to the city park board by the Hudson’s Bay Co.

There won’t be any more bears, or other caged animals in Stanley Park, after voters decided in 1993 to close the zoo.

Tuk survived longer in captivity than he would have in the wild, where polar bears generally live as long as 25 years, Mackintosh said.

His favorite Tuk story is about the time in the early 1980s when someone tossed a kitten into the polar bear pool. Tuk jumped in, delicately removed the kitten with his teeth, licked it dry and tucked it safely under his paw.

Mackintosh said zoo staff never knew whether Tuk was showing compassion, or simply saving the kitten for a later snack.

The kitten was removed safely.