Animal Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2001:

Ursa Minor, 35, one of the oldest polar bears on record, died on July 24 at the EcoTarium science museum in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she lived with her daughter Kenda, 17. Ursa Minor came from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in 1971, soon after the EcoTarium opened. Her mate, Ursa Major, died at the Stone Zoo in Boston last year at age 33.

Mocha, a brown Labrador, was fatally burned in a thermal pool near the Firehold River in Yellowstone National Park on July 26. His person, Donald E. Hansen, 39, was hospitalized for burn treatment after trying to save him.

Rugendo, a silverback gorilla who had been friendly with human visitors since 1986, was killed on July 15 near the border of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, when caught in a crossfire between Congolese troops and Interhamwe militia. The Interhamwe emerged from death squads reputedly led by Rwandan genocide suspect Protais Zigiranyirazo, brother-in-law of ex-Rwandan president Juvenal Habiyrama, whose death in a plane crash ignited the 1994 Rwandan massacres. Recently arrested in Belgium,
Zigiranyirazo is also suspected of killing gorilla researcher Dian Fossey in December 1985.

Como, 2, a white Siberian tiger, was killed for rabies testing on July 27 at the Bearcat Hollow Refuge in Racine, Minnesota, a week after he bit Emily Hartman, 7, as he participated with her mother Mary in a photo session that was to have been part of a fundraising event. Como forced a gate open, seized the girl, and carried her about 30 feet before dropping her on orders from refuge cofounder Nancy Kraft. Nancy and Ken Kraft bought Como from a Florida trainer when he was three weeks old. The Krafts twice unsuccessfully appealed the judicial order that forced his death.

Bea, 21, the oldest of the 235 Sumatran tigers in captivity and probably older than any of the estimated 400 left in the wild, died on July 27 at the Akron Zoo, her home since 1998, when she came from the Fort Wayne Zoo to be the queen of Tiger Valley.

Spike, 31, of Bridport, Dorset, U.K., the ginger-and-white tom honored as world’s oldest cat by the Guinness Book of Records, died on June 10 in the arms of Mo Elkington, who with her husband David had him from age 7. She attributed Spike’s longevity to her practice of mixing aloe vera with his cat food, beginning after he survived a severe dog mauling at age 19. Spike’s previous owner bought him as a kitten at the Brick Lane market in 1970.

C-6, 24, an Indian River Lagoon dolphin was found dead on June 12. He had apparently choked on a fish. C-6 and C-7, his lifelong pal, were caught together and named by government researchers in 1980. In August 2000 he was found at the Vero Beach Marina, suffering from shark wounds. Nursed back to health at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, he was renamed Philippe, in honor of the Philippe Cousteau Foundation, which helps to support Harbor Branch. He was returned to the wild in March 2001, and had been seen 13 times with, often with C-7.

Sellers, a chimpanzee used in gout research at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, was found dead in May “with his head wedged between the inner cage wall and bedboard after recovering from repeated anesthetic doses that had him ‘under’ twice in the same day,” Eric Kleiman of In Defense of Animals announced on July 11. IDA filed complaints about the death with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the National Institutes of Health.

One-Eye, a baboon familiar to visitors to Cape Peninsula National Park, South Africa, was shot in late May by park staff for allegedly menacing tourists.

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