AP NEWS

Oldest male polar bear at North American zoo euthanized

December 23, 2017

AN September 26, 2016 photo provided by the Chicago Zoological Society shows Aussie, a male polar bear that had been at suburban Chicago's Brookfield Zoo since 1986. The bear, which was the species' oldest male at an accredited North American zoo, was euthanized Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, at age 32. Zoo officials say staff had determined that Aussie's health had failed in recent weeks due to degenerative arthritis in his legs and other age-related diseases. (Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society via AP)

BROOKFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Suburban Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo says a polar bear that was the species’ oldest male at an accredited North American zoo has died at age 32.

Zoo officials say Aussie was euthanized Friday after staff determined that “it was the right time” as his health had failed in recent weeks due to degenerative arthritis in his legs and other age-related diseases.

Aussie was born at Adelaide Zoo in Australia in June 1985 and arrived at Brookfield Zoo in December 1986. He and one of the zoo’s female polar bears produced five offspring that have since produced nine offspring of their own.

Polar bears are listed as a vulnerable species. Experts say the bears are seeing population losses due to the decline of sea ice and other environmental factors.

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