Popular Anchorage polar bear unexpectedly dies

Aphun the polar bear at the Alaska Zoo in 2016 (Photo by Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage).

The Alaska Zoo announced today that one of its main attractions has died.

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Ahpun the polar bear died suddenly over the weekend. In a Facebook post, the Alaska Zoo said the bear had shown no signs of poor health. A necropsy was done to determine a cause of death, but so far there are no final results.

The announcement quickly garnered an outpouring of attention on social media. Facebook comments were filled with condolences and personal pictures of the bear over the years.

Ahpun came to the zoo in 1998 as a cub, and was about 20 years old when she died. That’s roughly half the life expectancy of a polar bear in captivity, according to the zoo. She is survived by one other polar bear at the Alaska Zoo.