Topeka Zoo Bear Dies In Surgery

Topeka zoo officials say a 20-year-old black bear died during spinal surgery.

Zoo director Brendan Wiley says the bear, named Peek, died Wednesday during surgery at Kansas State University’s veterinary health center.

Peek was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in January and gradually got worse, recently losing the use of her hind legs.

Wiley said in a news release that the zoo tried several methods, including stem cell therapy, to help the bear before deciding surgery was the only option.

Peek and her sister, Sneak, arrived at the Topeka Zoo in 1996 from Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria, Illinois.

The zoo acquired two female, orphaned black bear cubs last year. They have not yet been introduced to Sneak..