COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN)--The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced that one of their polar bears was euthanized, following a diagnosis of liver cancer.
Nanuq was 29-years-old. Zoo officials say the adult male polar bear far surpassed his median life expectancy of just over 20 years.
Officials note that Nanuq had age-related conditions and was receiving treatment on a regular basis. Staff noticed reduced physical activity from Nanuq in mid-February, prompting the thorough physical examination and blood work, which hinted at reduced liver function.
“It is always a difficult time when we lose an animal, especially one as beloved as Nanuq,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Tom Stalf. “From the time that he was rescued as an orphaned cub, he has been an ambassador to his counterparts in the Arctic, reminding us of the importance of protecting polar bears and their sea ice. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will always remember him and continue working to protect his species.”
Nanuq was rescued in Alaska in 1988, and lived at the Henry Villas Zoo in Wisconsin until 2009. He was moved to the Buffalo Zoo, then moved to the Columbus Zoo in October 2012.
Nanuq sired four litters at the Columbus Zoo, including Nora, who is now at the Oregon Zoo, and the three cubs born in November of 2016.
(photo courtesy Columbus Zoo and Aquarium)