Klondike, the oldest polar bear in the U.S., was euthanized at the Philadelphia Zoo early Friday due to what staff said was a "recent and substantial decline in her medical condition."
The 34-year-old bear's health started to take a noticeable downturn about two weeks ago, when according to the zoo, she had difficulty standing and walking after lying down. In addition to the mobility issues, veterinarians also treated her for a urinary tract infection, but no significant improvement in her condition occurred.
"Given her advanced age and poor prognosis, zoo staff decided that the best decision would be to humanely euthanize her," the zoo announced in a Facebook post.
Klondike spent most of her time on display at Philadelphia Zoo, where she arrived three decades ago.
She went on to become one of the zoo's most distinguished residents, chomping on frozen shank bones or playing with floating balls in her enclosure's pool.
The zoo noted that Klondike lived an above average life. Polar bears in the wild don't typically live past 20.
Klondike leaves behind Coldilocks, also 34, who now becomes the oldest polar bear in the U.S.
In the Facebook announcement, the zoo said that in addition to the joy Klondike brought staff and visitors over the years, she served as "an important ambassador to wild polar bears, who are increasingly threatened by climate change and resulting shrinkage of polar ice."
We hope she has inspired many to make commitments in their daily lives to reduce energy and water use, which will contribute to efforts to slow climate change.