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Polar bear dies at N.C. Zoo

A polar bear was found dead Tuesday at the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro, the second death of a prominent exhibition animal in a week.

Keepers found Aquila, a 21-year-old polar bear, dead in a den about 7 a.m. Tuesday. He appeared to be in good health Monday night when keepers left, said Ken Reininger, the zoo’s general curator.

A necropsy conducted Tuesday showed the animal died from a ruptured stomach that led to lung collapse. Aquila had shown no previous indications of problems.

Last week, the zoo’s male gorilla Nkosi died after a brief spell of poor health. Laboratory tests aimed at determining his cause of death are incomplete. MARK WASHBURN

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