Manitoba-born polar bear dies in U.S. zoo; considered oldest
Monday, April 17, 2017, 1:58 PM - The San Francisco Zoo is mourning the loss of Uulu, one of the oldest polar bears in captivity, who died Friday at the age of 36.
The bear - who had lived at the zoo since 1985 - had been experiencing "rapidly declining health due to congestive heart failure and advanced age," according to a press released issued by the institution.
Uulu was transferred to the zoo from Churchill, Man., at about 3 years of age after having been slated for euthanasia by Manitoba officials. She, her siblings, and mother were deemed 'problem bears' after numerous forays into the town dump and at least one attempt to enter a home in the community.
During the latter part of her three decades in the San Francisco Zoo, Uulu was the subject of several studies on geriatric animal care. In the wild, polar bears have an average life expectancy of 15 to 18 years, though the oldest known wild bear reached the age of 32.
Uulu had lived alone since her habitat-mate, Pike, died two years ago.
The 545-pound bear will be missed by her caretakers and zoo-goers, alike. "We are all tremendously saddened by the passing of our polar bear," said Tanya M. Peterson, President of San Francisco Zoo & Gardens in a statement. "She was an amazing animal ambassador and helped to educate millions of visitors over the years about polar bear conservation."