Central Park Zoo’s beloved bear dies

Central Park Zoo’s beloved bear dies

NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse
Central Park Zoo’s beloved bear dies

Gus, the much-celebrated polar bear at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo, has died after being euthanized. He was 27 years old. AP Photo

Gus, the beloved and famously neurotic polar bear at the Central Park zoo in New York, has died aged 27, the Wildlife Conservation Society said Aug. 28.

Some 20 million people are thought to have visited Gus during his time at the zoo, which saw him become famous for his obsessive swimming routine, and even become the star of a book based on his life.

In 2006 TV-chef Rachel Ray prepared a special mea, tilapia on a block of ice, for Gus and his partner Ida, who died in 2011.

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society Gus was euthanized on Aug. 27 while under anesthesia for a medical procedure after a loss of appetite and difficulty eating. “During the procedure, veterinarians determined Gus had a large, inoperable tumor in his thyroid region,” read a statement from the conservation group. It said the average life expectancy for a male polar bear in a zoo is 20.7 years.

Gus, who was born in Toledo in 1985 and came to the Big Apple in 1988, became the face of the zoo, appearing in many newspapers and advertisements. “Gus was an icon at the Central Park Zoo and a great source of joy for our visitors and staff,” said Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President of Zoos and Aquarium.