KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Zoo says its beloved polar bear Berlin has died.
The 33-year-old polar bear was the oldest polar bear in the United States, according to the zoo.
The zoo said Berlin had been struggling with hypertension and renal failure recently, and there was no cure. Staff made the polar bear more comfortable with various treatments, but the zoo said Berlin’s health significantly declined Wednesday morning.
Zoo staff said they determined there were no more treatment options and made the decision to euthanize her while she was surrounded by caregivers.
Berlin was born at the Cincinnati Zoo in December 1989, just a few weeks after the Berlin Wall fell, which led to her unique name.
She made headlines in 2012 while living at the the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, Minnesota. The zoo flooded, and Berlin “famously swam to the perimeter wall of her habitat where she waited until staff arrived and discovered her,” the KC Zoo said in a release.
Berlin arrived in Kansas City a few months later and lived at the zoo for over a decade.
“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!'” the zoo wrote in a statement.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums says polar bears in accredited facilities have a median life-expectancy of 23.4 years, and Polar Bears International says the species lives 15-18 years in the wild.
“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,” the zoo said.