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Wild Ireland staff heartbroken after loss of brown bear over weekend

By Sarah Finnan

October 19, 2020 at 10:30am

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There was sad news up in Donegal over the weekend, as Wild Ireland said goodbye to one of its furry residents.

A 23-acre animal sanctuary in Burnfoot, Wild Ireland is home to a huge variety of different wildlife with its residents including wolves, lynx, wild boar and even three brown bears - the first bears to return to Ireland in over 2,000 years.

Run by local man Killian McLaughlin, aka The Bearman of Buncrana, the place has surged in popularity since being the subject of a recent RTÉ documentary. Known to share regular updates on social media, Killian came bearing bad news this weekend, confirming that one of the park's bears has sadly passed away.

Filling the public in on the situation, Killian detailed what happened in a video shared to the Wild Ireland YouTube account.

"Folks, I have some pretty bad news. Our beautiful brown bear Aurnia, our golden lady, had two broken canine teeth and they had started to give her a lot of pain and a lot of trouble. So we brought in a team of specialist vets that had the skills and the tools required to do dentistry work on a bear."

Explaining that "any anaesthetic is risky", Killian said that it is even more so when working with a large wild animal such as a bear.

"Sadly during the procedure, Aurnia stopped breathing and I tried to do chest compressions and the team were doing chest compressions with her for about 45 minutes but unfortunately we couldn't get her to start breathing again and we lost her."

A rescue from a caged enclosure over in Lithuania, Aurnia had a pretty miserable start to life but Killian is thankful that she got to spend some time at Wild Ireland before passing on.

"She was here just over a year and in that time she had a pretty good life here and that's the only thing that is consoling us all here. We all loved her dearly.

The only thing that is consoling us is the fact that she had at least one good year of her life here, probably the best year of her life, here at Wild Ireland. So I'd like to remember her like that."

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