Toronto Zoo Says Goodbye To Beloved Grizzly Bear Samson

Toronto Zoo Says Goodbye To Beloved Grizzly Bear Samson. On 10 April Toronto Zoo said goodbye to one of its most beloved residents, Samson, a 25-year-old Grizzly bear. Samson arrived at the Toronto Zoo on September 22, 1998, at around six-months-old. Born in Alaska, he was found by Alaskan officials wandering with no mother and undernourished. Despite growing to an impressive size (just over 1000 pounds) he was a gentle bear, and his keepers were constantly impressed by his intelligence and motivation. After waking up from hibernation this year, it was apparent Samson was experiencing stiffness and discomfort from progressive arthritic changes to his hips and knees. With him relying so heavily on pain management medication, the decision to humanely injection him was made quickly and unanimously among his care team so as not to prolong any suffering. Zoo staff said he “will be missed dearly” - and Samson’s connection to his keepers was apparent even in his final moments. After enjoying a special meal of salmon, watermelon, and berries, he voluntarily presented his hip and shoulder for his last anaesthetic injection from the veterinary team, just as he had practiced daily for most of his life. In honouring both the importance of Mkwa – the bear to Indigenous People – and Samson’s spirit, a ceremony honouring him was also held using Indigenous Knowledge Keepers.