SAN FRANCISCO—Piké, a 32-year-old polar bear that has charmed San Francisco zoogoers since the 80s, passed-away on May 28 due to complications of old age.
Piké, pronounced Peeka, was born at the zoo on November 25, 1982, and was hand-reared by zoo staff after her mother was unfit to care for her.
In her passing, staff members have reminisced that Piké was a defiant bear that preferred swimming, hunting, and basking in the snow atop her enclosure to falling for zookeeper attempts to lure her into her nighttime enclosure.
At 32, Piké far outstripped the average life expectancy of a polar bear, which is 24. Her lone companion in the zoo, a bear known as Uulu, is America’s oldest polar bear at the seasoned age of 34.
For Piké’s part, a number of issues such as arthritis and digestive problems had begun to seriously diminish her quality of life, limiting her ability to swim and catch the fish that were stocked inside her enclosure. Her precipitous decline in health forced officials to make the decision to euthanize her.
“It’s still a hard decision and a hard loss when it comes,” said Dr. Graham Crawford. “It’s sad. You just counted on her. She’s been there longer than I’ve been there.”