TORONTO (Oct 25, 2006)
The Toronto Zoo's largest carnivore was likely felled by a mosquito and the lethal West Nile virus it carried.
Kunik, one of two polar bears on display at the zoo, began having trouble using his hind legs Sept. 19 and was put down for humane reasons two days later. If confirmed, it would be the first known case of a polar bear contracting the ailment.
"It sure looks like (West Nile) right now," says zoo vet Jean Pare. "It's certainly rare in polar bears."
The 26-year-old polar bear was put down Sept. 21 after its back legs became paralyzed.