Woodland Park Zoo Farewell Denali the Brown Bear

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: December 24, 2020 5:59 pm

denali the brown bear Woodland Park Zoo

Denali the brown bear at the Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/ Woodland Park Zoo

Staff at Woodland Park Zoo are mourning the passing of their brown bear, Denali. The 26 year old bear was humanely euthanized following a severe decline in health brought on by age-related causes. This much loved bear will be sorely missed.


Animal care staff had observed that Denali had mobility issues over the last three weeks which were leading to severe limitations in his mobility, activity routine and overall comfort. He was immediately brought inside so he could be monitored by keepers and vets.

denali the brown bear Woodland Park Zoo

Denali the brown bear with his brother Keema at the Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/ Woodland Park Zoo

Unfortunately despite this intervention his health continued to decline and vets made the sad decision to euthanize him.

denali the brown bear Woodland Park Zoo

Denali the brown bear at the Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/ Woodland Park Zoo

Denali has a twin brother Keema with both born on January 15th, 1994. They have well exceeded the median lifespan for a captive brown bear of 26 years.


The two bears came to Woodland Park Zoo as 10 month old cubs after their mother was rescued in Yellowstone national park. Washington State University gave her a home in their Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center. It’s the only program of its kind in the U.S. that focuses on bear conservation around the world.

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Keema and Denali lived together for their entire lives. While brown bears are typically solitary these two lived together peacefully after being raised together and having no female bears to compete for.


“Denali lived a wonderful, long life. There are animal keepers at Woodland Park Zoo who have been caring for him for over two decades, and community members who have been visiting him for just as long. While our hearts are broken that he’s gone, we also know how fortunate we are to have had so many great and healthy years with him,” said Woodland Park Zoo Curator Kevin Murphy. “Keema’s keepers are going to be giving him extra attention as he adjusts to life without his brother, and we are confident Keema will be able to handle the loss. Grizzly bears are so adaptive and Keema has always had an independent personality.”

denali the brown bear Woodland Park Zoo

Denali the brown bear with his brother Keema at the Woodland Park Zoo

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/ Woodland Park Zoo

Learn more about Woodland Park Zoo on their website – Woodland Park Zoo

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