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Polar bear dies unexpectedly at SeaWorld San Diego

21 April 2017

"Szenja was a beloved member of our animal family, so this is a very hard day for all of us", Al Garver, SeaWorld San Diego's vice president of zoological operations, said.

SeaWorld San Diego mourned the passing of Szenja the polar bear, Tuesday, after she died unexpectedly.

It is reported that Szenja lost her appetite in the days after Snowflake's departure but her death still came as a shock to SeaWorld staff.

PEOPLE has reached out to the Pittsburgh Zoo for an update on Snowflake's condition.

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Now Szenja has died and Peta say the causes of death are abundantly clear.

"Szenja was a beloved member of our animal family, so this is a very hard day for all of us", said Al Garver, SeaWorld San Diego's vice president of zoological operations, in a statement.

In a doubly sad spate of news, two polar bears living in two California zoos have died within days of each other.

Szenja, who was born at a German zoo, was brought by Seaworld when the park opened its Wild Arctic exhibit in 1997.

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Szenja lived at the park for almost two decades. Some live 20 to 30 years, but only a small percentage live past the 15 to 18 range.

She lived alongside Snowflake in the enclosure for around 20 years and the two females developed a deep friendship.

A polar bear cub makes its public debut with her mother Anana in their habitat at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. "Until it does, this ship will keep sinking". But this was not enough to prevent Snowflake from being shipped to Pittsburgh in an attempt to breed more polar bears.

SeaWorld estimated that around 50 million visitors have seen Szenja at the exhibit over the years. Conservation groups and scientists see many threats to the wild population of polar bears, including climate change, poaching, pollution and a rapid loss of sea ice.

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Polar bear dies unexpectedly at SeaWorld San Diego