Zoo’s polar bear dies, officials say

Vilas: Mishka, 30, euthanized due to health problems
Zoo’s polar bear dies, officials say
Henry Vilas zoo's 30-year-old female polar bear, Mishka, died recently

A 30-year-old female polar bear at Madison’s Henry Vilas Zoo recently died, according to zoo officials.

Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz said Mishka was beloved by zoo staff and visitors.

“While we are sad to have said goodbye to our polar bear Mishka, we know she lived a long life … through the exceptional care of her zookeepers and vet staff,” Schwetz said.

Mishka was euthanized early last week due to deteriorating health from old age, the Dane County Executive’s Office said in a news release Wednesday.

Zoo officials said Mishka came to Madison in 1993 after living at the Milwaukee County Zoo for a time.

The zoo said the median life expectancy for female polar bear is about 24 years, which Mishka surpassed.

The zoo and the Dane County Executive’s Office also said Wednesday that a new multi-million dollar bear habitat is planned to break ground later this year.