Beloved polar bear’s death leaves questions

Szenja, a polar bear at SeaWorld, died last week. But death may be more than meets the eye

Britney Smart, Reporter, Scottsdale Chronicle

A polar bear at SeaWorld in San Diego is said to have died from an “unexpected illness,” but PETA claims the polar bear’s passing was due to a broken heart.

Szenja was born in 1996 in a zoo in Germany and around the age of two she was shipped to San Diego so she could live her life in the Wild Arctic exhibit in SeaWorld. Szenja and Snowflake were practically family. The bears had spent most of their lives together and had been together since they were both young bears.

Snowflake was shipped to a zoo in Pittsburgh so she could breed with Ursus, a male bear there. Szenja was then left alone, and only a couple of weeks later, she died.

SeaWorld employees said she was sick as she showed a loss of appetite and energy. Many believe that she was showing signs of depression, and it has reignited the debate over how depressed animals can get.

SeaWorld, zoos and other places where animals are held captive have often been questioned regarding depression in their animals, and many have received major backlash on some of the deaths that have happened. In 2016, a killer whale that had been captured and was living in SeaWorld reportedly attempted suicide. The whale had breached itself for about ten minutes and was not trying to return to the water. This caused major problems for SeaWorld once again and renewed concerns about the mental state of their wildlife.

Szenja the polar bear was greatly loved by the people that lived in San Diego and by many tourists that came from all over to see her. She will be missed by not only the staff of SeaWorld but the world.