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Zoo mourns loss of Arctic Fox, Todd
Todd, Arctic Fox at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo

Todd, an arctic fox at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo, has passed away, zoo officials announced Thursday.

The following information was posted on the zoo’s Facebook page.

We are deeply saddened to share the passing of our beloved Arctic Fox, Todd. At 13 years old, he well surpassed the life expectancy of a wild fox, which is only 3-5 years. Todd has lived at the zoo since 2013. Prior to coming to the zoo, he was part of the pet trade and unfortunately his diet was not appropriate and caused him lifelong health issues. At age 2 he began having issues with his back and hips. It was determined he had spondylosis, which is the fusing of his spine. This fusing occurred in several of his vertebrae along his back. Due to this, he also developed arthritis, especially in his hind-quarters, at a young age. We’ve been able to treat his symptoms and keep him comfortable for many years; unfortunately, we can’t reverse the aging process. Histopathology results revealed compression and degeneration of his spinal cord and vertebral discs, as well as some age related issues in his liver, gallbladder, lungs and pancreas.

Todd is one of our most well known animals and has educated people about Arctic Foxes worldwide. Todd was photographed in 2015 as part of National Geographic’s Photo Ark. Photographer Joel Sartore’s goal with the Photo Ark is to inspire people to protect Earth’s precious creatures by photographing and sharing the 20,000 species found in Zoos, Aquariums and Sanctuaries. Todd’s adorable face has appeared in National Geographic Magazine, as well as dozens of other publications and exhibits across the world. We will miss him incredibly, but his legacy will live on through the Photo Ark and his kits and grand-kits that are in zoological facilities across the country.

His partner Vixie will continue to receive top notch care and extra attention from our keeper staff. Vixie is 12 years old and has overcome her own health issues as well. In 2023 keepers noticed a small growth near the base of her tail. Our veterinarians removed the growth and sent it to K-State where it was determined to be a spindle-cell sarcoma (cancerous tumor)Fortunately, Dr. Jackie Corbett’s removal of this tumor had clean margins and did not appear to have spread to the bone.

As with all of our animals, we monitor her closely for changes in behavior, eating, body condition changes, etc. that could indicate a re-appearance by the cancer.

Todd always had a big smile and noisy fox greeting for his keepers. Please keep our staff in your thoughts! We spend so much time with these animals and they become a part of our family. Losing one is the single most difficult part of our jobs.