Bear rescued as orphan — known as a ‘laid back little brother’ — dies at Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo is mourning the death of a beloved brown bear, Kenai, the “laid back ‘little brother’” to two fellow bears he treated like siblings.

Kenai had liver cancer and was 17 years old when he died, the zoo said in a Feb. 27 Facebook post announcing his death.

Brown bears have a lifespan of 15-20 years, according to the zoo, but they can live up to 30 years in captivity.

Kenai was rescued in Alaska as an orphaned cub in 2006 and formed a bond with two other rescued cubs, Sadie and Haines, at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, according to the zoo.

The trio came to the Minnesota Zoo in 2008 and have lived there since.

Though they’re not related, the three acted like siblings, the Minnesota Zoo said. Kenai was “always willing to tag along with Haines and let Sadie be the unquestioned leader of their group,” the zoo said.

“This is a hard loss for our staff and the Zoo as a whole. Kenai was an important ambassador for his wild counterparts and his presence will be dearly missed,” the zoo wrote.

Haines and Sadie remain at the zoo and are in their “behind-the-scenes habitat,” the zoo said.

The Minnesota Zoo is in Apple Valley, about 20 miles south of Minneapolis.

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