Berlin: America's oldest polar bear euthanized after suffering from incurable renal failure

Berlin: America's oldest polar bear euthanized after suffering from incurable renal failure
Berlin's animal care specialists commended her big personality and described her personality as 'smart and sassy' (Kansas City Zoo/ Facebook, Lake Superior Zoo)

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI: The oldest polar bear living in U.S. captivity has died, according to the Kansas City Zoo. It was discovered that 'Berlin' was suffering from incurable renal failure and had to be euthanized.

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Born a month after the fall of the Berlin wall on December 11, 1989, was the reason behind her unique name to "honor the event". The polar Bear who was 33 years old and the oldest in captivity in America, had been suffering from systemic hypertension before her recent diagnosis.

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Kansas City Zoo staff is mourning as after "exhausting all the treatment options" they took the difficult decision to euthanize her on 9 January 2023, the Kansas City Zoo shared in a statement which they also shared on Facebook.

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In 2012, Berlin was residing at Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth when it flooded and famously swam to the perimeter wall of her habitat where she waited until staff arrived and discovered her. She was temporarily housed at Como Zoo in Saint Paul and arrived in Kansas City from there in December 2012, the Zoo officials said.



 

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Berlin was a beloved ambassador for her species and helped contribute to research that has benefited the wild polar bear population. Her animal care specialists commended her big personality and described her as “smart and sassy” and say she gave all of her caregivers “a run for their money!”

"Berlin will be dearly missed by her Zoo family, including staff, volunteers, and guests," the post continued. It further added, "The Kansas City Zoo will make its annual contribution from the Zoo’s Conservation Fund to Polar Bears International in memory of Berlin this year to aid in conserving this amazing, vulnerable species and their habitat in the wild."

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"What a loss. Berlin was an incredible advocate for her species and for the zoo. Our daughter loved her and even dressed up like her for Halloween a few years ago. Our hearts go out to the whole zoo team, especially her caretakers," Jenna Peterson Riley wrote in Berlin's memory on the post. 

Director of Animal Management at the Lake Superior Zoo, Lizzy Larson said, “I was one of Berlin's caretakers for three years and the thing that I will remember most about Berlin was how incredibly smart she was. Everything Berlin did, had a purpose. She could solve every puzzle we gave her and I never found a toy she didn't like! I will fondly remember how enthusiastically she would jump into her pool to play. She has had the best care at all the facilities she's had the chance to live at and I know that she has touched countless hearts in her 33 years of life. We will all be mourning her loss.”

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Lake Superior Zoo staff dearly missed 'Berlin' who arrived when she was just one year old in 1990. They also wrote a tribute to her on Facebook. The staff said Berlin was in for 10 years in the Zoo's care. Shortly after her arrival, she was joined by her long-time friend Bubba.



 

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