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Family & Pets

Central Park Zoo’s Polar Bear, Gus, Dies

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(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Central Park Zoo has lost a popular polar bear.

The Wildlife Conservation Society says veterinarians euthanized Gus on Tuesday. He had a large, inoperable tumor.

Gus was 27. The median life expectancy for male polar bears in zoos is less than 21.

Officials estimate more than 20 million zoo-goers visited Gus. They say he drew attention to the effects of climate change on bears in the wild.

He’d been at the Manhattan zoo since 1988. He was born in Toledo, Ohio.

In 1994, concern developed over his repetitive swimming pattern. An enrichment program was designed that included moveable items for him to manipulate. Experts also had Gus forage for food to keep his mind and body healthy.

Gus outlived two longtime female companions, Ida and Lily.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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