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El Paso Zoo’s Sun Bear, Baloo, Dies

The El Paso Zoo is mourning the loss of Baloo, a 16-year-old Malaysian sun bear, who died Tuesday night of complications of pneumonia despite intensive treatment.

Baloo was one of two sun bears living in the Asia section of the Zoo.

“This is a very sad day for El Paso since Baloo was a very active bear who could often be seen climbing trees and eating special treats that his keepers provided throughout his exhibit where he lived with his companion, Heliana,” said Zoo Education Curator Rick LoBello.

Baloo’s last routine exam in January showed that he was in very good health, but about a month ago he showed signs of having problems with his respiratory system.

John Kiseda, the Zoo’s Animal Curator, said that “Baloo had a full life here with us, between his sometimes ‘spirited’ relationship with Heliana, his mate and companion, and the staff that cared for him greatly throughout his years here. He was a spunky and feisty bear who always let you know what he thought of your being in his presence, and he certainly had personality that shown through?he’ll be missed.”

The Zoo has dealt with other animal deaths this year. Cocoa, a 24-year-old California sea lion, died at the Zoo in early May. One of the Zoo’s meerkats went missing in March and is presumed to have died in a tunnel in the exhibit, zoo officials told ABC-7 recently.

Baloo Bio Baloo was born at Miami Metro Zoo on June 8, 1994. He arrived at the El Paso Zoo on September 12, 1995.

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