Zoo mourns unexpected loss of black bear Takoda


Takoda was the youngest of the Oregon Zoo’s black bear family

The Oregon Zoo recently announced that Takoda the black bear recently died suddenly and unexpectedly during a routine medical procedure. While under anesthesia, he went into cardiac arrest.

Takoda enjoying a bath in his tub (Photo courtesy of Oregon Zoo).

Takoda enjoying a bath in his tub (Photo courtesy of Oregon Zoo).

“It is just devastating for the zoo staff and really the entire zoo community,” expressed Travis Koons, who oversees the zoo’s Great Northwest area, in an organizational release.1 “Takoda brought so much joy. He was the life and spirit not only of the group of black bears but also the care staff. He was loved by everyone — from the older bears who adopted him into their group to the keepers who cared for him every day to thousands of fans on social media. It is heartbreaking.”

“Our vet staff did everything possible to bring him back,” he added. “They were performing CPR for more than a half hour, but they couldn’t revive him.”

According to the release,1 Takoda, whose name meant “friend to all” in Sioux, arrived at the Oregon Zoo in November 2010. He was orphaned as a cub in Montana, where he was found hungry and dehydrated, weighing less than 3 lbs. The cub was rescued by wildlife officials and he restored his health, though he could not be released back to the wild, so he found a home at the zoo’s Black Bear Ridge.

During his first 8 years at the zoo, Takoda amazed visitors and staff each spring by climbing a 50-foot Douglas fir tree in his habitat to feast on the new growth near the top. His companions, including Cubby, Tuff, and Dale, would wait below to catch whatever fell while Takoda was foraging.

“It was breathtaking to see a 400-pound bear so high up in one of those giant trees,” Koons said. “A little scary for us, to be honest, but black bears are natural climbers.”

When Takoda grew into an adult, he no longer climbed to those heights, though he did have new signature habits. On warmer days, he was known for playfully relaxing in a 300-gallon tub filled with cool water.1

“He loved splashing around in his tub,” Koons shared. “He was spunky, amazingly smart and an incredible, fun-loving individual.”


Zoo mourns loss of black bear Takoda. News release. Oregon Zoo. April 7, 2023. Accessed April 11, 2023. https://www.oregonzoo.org/news/2023/04/zoo-mourns-loss-black-bear-takoda

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