Ohio Zoo Forced to Euthanize Beloved Polar Bear

by Samantha Whidden

On Friday (October 14th), the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio announced that its 15-year-old polar bear, Anana, was humanely euthanized earlier this week. 

In a post on Facebook, the Columbus Zoo shared details about what happened to the polar bear. “Anana had no significant medical concerns previously,” the zoo explained. “In September, Anana’s care team noticed that she was exhibiting unusual behaviors. When initial treatments didn’t alleviate the signs, Anana was immobilized for a thorough evaluation, including with several local specialists while her care team monitored her around the clock.” 

The Columbus Zoo stated that the extensive testing done on the polar bear did not provide a clear diagnosis. It was also assumed that Anana had an autoimmune system, so she was aggressively treated. “Although Anana initially improved, her condition declined dramatically over the last week and the decision was made to humanely euthanize her. A complete postmortem exam was performed at The Ohio State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, and results of that exam will be available in a few weeks.”

Anna and her twin sister Aurora were born on November 25, 2006, at the Toledo Zoo. They were. Then moved to the Pittsburgh Zoo in 2008. In February 2010, Anana headed to the Columbus Zoo, where she had her cub, Amelia Gray in November 2016. Her cub is now almost six years old and lives at the Oregon Zoo with Aurora’s cub Nora. 

This is the second animal that the Columbus Zoo lost in recent weeks. The zoo previously announced that its 19-year-old bison, Clover, passed away after experiencing chronic renal failure. 

Recently Passed Columbus Zoo Polar Bear is Described As a ‘True Princess’ By Her Care Team 

Also in the social media post, the Columbus Zoo opened up about Anana’s personality. The polar bear’s care team described her as being a “true princess.”

“Never wanting to get on the scale to reveal her actual weight,” the description reads. “A proud and expert trout hunter; an amazing polar bear sister, mother, and aunt; an independent bear who made her care team incredibly special when they earned her trust.”

The zoo further explained that the polar bear was also an incredible ambassador who contributed important information about her threatened species. 

According to the Columbus Zoo, the median life expectancy of a polar bear is 24.2 years (female) and 20.7 years (male). The animal is considered the largest land predator in the world. “They range in color from pure white after a molt to a yellowish shade. Interestingly, polar bear fur is not truly white: each hair is actually pigment-free and transparent with a hollow core. Their coat is made of a dense undercoat topped by guard hairs of varying lengths.”

While seals are polar bears’ primary prey, other prey includes arctic foxes, ravens, and younger bears. Key predators of the species are humans and other polar bears. 

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