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Polar bear rescued as cub with brother and brought to Winnipeg zoo dies

3-year-old Eli who has lived at the Assiniboine Park & Zoo since 2015 passed away on Sunday, July 16, 2017. Photo via Facebook - Assiniboine Park & Zoo

A polar bear that was rescued as a cub and brought to a zoo in Winnipeg has died, zoo officials say.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo says in a news release that Eli, a three-year-old polar bear that has lived at the zoo since November 2015, started showing mild clinical symptoms Friday.

The zoo says his condition worsened by Saturday and he was anesthetized for further diagnosis, but died a short time later.

A preliminary necropsy shows internal swelling of tissues in the bear’s throat and neck which the zoo says likely interfered with his breathing. The zoo says a full pathology report will be completed in the coming weeks.

Eli arrived at the zoo’s polar bear conservation centre as a cub with his brother, York, after their mother was accidentally hit by a cracker shell someone used to scare her and the cubs away from a building entrance in Churchill, Man.