Emma was a European brown bear. She was born in 2010. On October 6th, 2015 Emma arrived at the BEAR SANCTUARY Arbesbach. Until then, she had lived together with her brother Erich and mother Miri in a small concrete enclosure in a park in Upper Austria. Officials closed down the park in 2012. FOUR PAWS took in the bears and transferred them to the BEAR SANCTUARY in Arbesbach.
In February 2022, while Emma was in her den for hibernation, she died very suddenly and unexpectedly from septic shock caused by a bacterium, that is part of the normal gut flora of brown bears but may also cause disease if the immune system is suppressed for any reason. Unfortunately, the bacterial infection spread very quickly and led to a sepsis causing organ failure only within a couple of hours.
Though she had no underlying health condition that can be associated with a suppressed immune system and was otherwise a perfectly healthy bear it is known that the immune defense is decreased during hibernation and may take some time after waking up to become fully functional again. And it was during this sensitive period that Emma’s immune system seemingly failed to fight the infection.
The 12 -year-old Emma was known as the curious one among other bears of the sanctuary. Emma loved swimming and in particular enjoyed enrichment made of sawdust sprinkled with various fragrances. She usually spent a lot of time rolling and playing.
She was a happy young bear, and will be missed dearly by all of us!