Black bear, Yona, of Museum of Life and Science in Durham dies at 14

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Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Black bear, Yona, of Museum of Life and Science in Durham dies at 14
The museum announced the passing of the beloved animal who has been part of the museum since 2010.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Museum of Life and Science in Durham announced Yona, a 14-year-old black bear who had been part of the museum since 2010 has passed away.

Several weeks ago, the animal care team observed Yona exhibiting some symptoms of discomfort and a veterinary exam revealed that she had issues with her urinary and reproductive tracts that required surgery.

Last week, staff took Yona to NC State, where a team of more than 50 veterinarians, technicians, and students worked to try and help, but additional issues were found.

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Despite numerous attempts to address Yona's medical problems, it became evident that there was no way to fix her condition. She was euthanized on May 19.

"From the beginning, she was an active and somewhat silly bear," Samuels said. "Finding her lying on her back playing with tree limbs or enrichment toys and apparently enjoying her time in our habitat were regular sights. Upside-down, feet in the air, was how I would mostly see her in the early years. Actually, on our drive back to Durham in 2010, she was lying on her back, feet up, half rolling in the crate, for the majority of the ride. Even as an adult, sleeping for her occurred regularly with feet up," said Sherry Samuels, senior director of animal care.

Yona arrived at the museum from the Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR), an organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of injured black bear cubs. While at ABR, Yona was very interested in human contact and as a result would have had trouble adapting in the wild. Yona arrived at the museum on January 15, 2010.

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