Topeka Zoo Announces Black Bear Named Indie Has Passed Away

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Tragic news out of Kansas. The Topeka Zoo announced that its black bear, named Indie, has sadly passed away. On Thursday (October 20th), the Topeka Zoo took to its Facebook account to announce the sad news about Indie. It was revealed that the black bear was euthanized the previous day. 

“On Sunday, Indie did not eat all of her food, which isn’t unusual this time of year,” the Zoo explained about the black bear’s condition. “On Monday, she showed no signs of improvement by the end of the day. While preparing to anesthetize her Tuesday morning, she had a seizure. She was then anesthetized and evaluated by veterinary staff. Because her condition continued to worsen, the difficult decision was made to euthanize her.”

The Topeka Zoo then shared that Indie (which is short for Independence) came to the zoo in June 2014.  This was after the black bear was orphaned. “A young boy found Indie while playing in his Oregon backyard and carried the baby bear back to his mother who called local police. Indie spent the night in ‘people jail’ until she could be picked up by a wildlife rescue. The Topeka Zoo volunteered to take in the orphaned bear.”

Black Bear Indie’s Time at the Topeka Zoo

When the black bear arrived at the zoo, she was in poor health. She weighed just 7 pounds and had a skin infection on her face. Although she was originally cautious, she quickly developed a trusting relationship with her keeper. 

Shanna Simpson, the animal curator at the Topeka Zoo, further spoke about the black bear’s time at the zoo. “The odds seemed to be stacked against Indie at the beginning of her life. However, here at the Topeka Zoo, she thrived and made a difference. She connected with thousands of people, capturing their hearts and helping people learn about the plight black bears face in the wild. She challenged our staff in so many ways and we adored her.”

WIBW reported that following the black bear’s death, a necropsy was conducted. The Zoo staff discovered abnormal tissue on the stomach and pancreas. The Zoo said a further evaluation will be done by an external pathologist. This will determine the cause. “When you devote your life to working and caring for animals, days like today are the most difficult,” Simpson told the media outlet.

Indie is leaving behind Val, who was a fellow black bear at the Topeka Zoo. It was noted that while they were the same species of bear, they could not be any more different. “Val always keeps us on our toes!” Simpson stated.  She also said that Val has always been very bold. However, Indie was much more on the shier side. “As you can imagine, when they were introduced to one another, Val was very excited to investigate while Indie wasn’t so sure about Val,” the Zoo explained.