With all my zoo visits lately, I thought I should mention that Spanky, an Alaskan Brown Bear at the San Diego Zoo, has passed away. If you grew up in San Diego, you remember Chester, the Alaskan Brown Bear who would wave at the tour busses as they passed by and how sad we were when he died. Shortly after his passing, a pair of orphan cubs were found in Alaska and were soon moved to the San Diego Zoo. Spanky and Sheena were 8 months old in 1986 when they were brought here. Sheena passed last year and sadly, Spanky passed a few weeks ago. He succumbed to sarcoma, but his 20+ years is considered a longer than normal life span.
This might explain why bear canyon had so many empty enclosures lately. Apparently the zoo hopes to adopt more Alaskan Brown Bears in the future, however there are plans to refurbish Bear Canyon enclosures before that happens.