HomeOutdoorsNewsKansas City Zoo Mourns Death of 33-Year-Old Polar Bear Named Berlin

Kansas City Zoo Mourns Death of 33-Year-Old Polar Bear Named Berlin

by Emily Morgan
Kansas City Zoo Polar Bear
Photo by: Faba-Photograhpy

A Kansas City zoo is mourning its polar bear Berlin who lived at the zoo for over a decade.

According to zoo officials, the polar bear, whom they named Berlin, was the oldest polar bear living in captivity in the United States. When they announced the death, zoo officials said the polar bear’s long life was “a testament to the extraordinary care she received from her animal care and veterinary health teams.”

Officials euthanized Berlin Wednesday morning.

“Unfortunately, Berlin’s health had significantly declined yesterday morning.” They added they determined that there “were no other additional medical options to improve her condition.” In an official statement, the zoo said announced her death: “She was euthanized surrounded by her caregivers.”

Previously, staff was treating Berlin for ongoing kidney failure and hypertension.

“Berlin will be dearly missed by her Zoo family, including staff, volunteers, and guests,” they 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.”

33-year-old polar bear known to have a ‘big personality’ and was ‘smart and sassy’

Born in the Cincinnati Zoo on Dec. 11, 1989, she was given her name since the Berlin wall fell a month prior. She was later transferred to the zoo at Kansas City after the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, Minnesota, was flooded.

In 2012, she also went viral while living at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, Minnesota. When the zoo flooded, she “famously swam to the perimeter wall of her habitat where she waited until staff arrived and discovered her,” the Kansas City Zoo said in a press release.

When she arrived in Kansas City a few months later, she became known for her “big personality.” She was also known for being “smart and sassy,” who gave staff a “run for their money.”

These majestic creatures can live between 15 to 18 years on their own. However, when they’re in captivity, they can live more than 23 years on average.

“Berlin was a beloved ambassador for her species and helped contribute to research that has benefited the wild polar bear population,” zoo officials said in a statement.

They added: “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!'”

In 2019, a 31-year-old polar bear named Bam Bam passed away from liver cancer at the same zoo.

Although they’re going to miss Berlin, the zoo is still home to one polar bear. They currently have a 6-year-old male named Nuniq, who came to the zoo in 2020.