Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Marty's journey has ended



Marty, the father and grandfather of so many cubs, has died at the Toledo Zoo, where he has lived most of his life.

Marty's handsome face

Marty was born to Arki and Australian born Aussie in the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago on November 25, 1996. He moved to Toledo when he was two years old. In 2000, just as the newly constructed  $11.5 million Arctic Encounter was opening, 16 month old Crystal arrived in Toledo from Belgium. In 2001, wildborn Nan, age 6, came to Toledo.  

Marty wonders who is that other bear?

Marty and his reflection, in the ice room.

When Crystal gave birth to twin girls, Aurora and Anana, and Nan gave birth to son Nikita in in 2006, the Toledo Zoo was a bit crowded, so Marty moved to the Pittsburgh Zoo while Crystal and Nan raised the cubs. then he returned to Toledo at the end of 2008, where he has stayed ever since. 

Marty swimming, back in his more active days

Nan had had no more cubs, and now is retired at Como Zoo, but Crystal has been a prolific mother, giving birth to Siku in 2009, twins Suka and Sakari in 2012, Hope in 2015, and Bo in 2018. There may yet be another cub or two, as Crystal dens up this fall and winter.


Marty's daughters Aurora and Anana have been prolific as well, Anana is mother to Amelia Gray, and Aurora is mother to Nora, twins Nuniq and Neva, and Kulu in the Columbus Zoo. Suka gave birth to twins Astra and Laerke in the Detroit Zoo.


Marty is fondly remembered by his many friends in the Brookfield Zoo, where he was born, and where his brother Hudson still lives. His other brother Payton lives in the North Carolina Zoo. 

Marty gives Nan a little kiss

Marty, front, snuggles Nan

He was a gentle giant, always kind and considerate of his ladies.

Marty napping in mid-August

Marty goes for a lazy dip on a warm day this past August

I last saw Marty in August. He was quiet, mostly sleeping. I wondered then if it was just because it was a warm day, or if he wasn't feeling well. He did go into the pool, but then he just floated there, awake but not wanting to play or swim.

Marty had been diagnosed with failing kidneys several years ago, and last Thursday, the vets put him under to examine him. They determined that his kidneys had gotten to the point where Marty's quality of life was impacted, so he was euthanized.

Marty was  massive bear

We now have only 40 polar bears in U.S. zoos. Marty was one of only three males known to have fathered cubs.

Marty's paw in August, as he slept.

With the exception of Luna, all the cubs born in the U.S since 2005 are either Marty's children or grandchildren. He will be missed but his great legacy lives on.


  1. What a handsome polar bear.
    Rip Marty ♥

  2. Dear Molly,

    This is a beautiful goodbye to Marty. He had a long life and left us a fantastic legacy with so many sons and daughters.

    Marty's journey on the earth has ended - now he's wandering on the snowy fields in the Bear Heaven.

    Hugs from Mervi

  3. Dear Molly Such a sad loss. It would be lovely if Crystal gives us new life. Thank you for this report

  4. Vielen Dank für den interessanten Bericht.