Denver Zoo mourns death of polar bear

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DENVER — A 25-year-old polar bear at the Denver Zoo has died.

Soosha was euthanized March 14 after a severe decline in her health, zoo managers said.

Polar bears have a lifespan of 20-25 years.

“It is always difficult to make this type of decision,” says Denver Zoo Vice President of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Scott Larsen. Despite our best efforts to help her, Soosha’s quality of life declined severely over the last few months. As hard as it is, this was the right thing to do. She will be missed by us all very much.”

Soosha began to show increased joint pain, decreased mobility and lethargy the past few months. Although she received medications for her joint pain, she did not return to her normal self, according to a statement from the zoo.

“Soosha was adored by zoo staff and our community.” says Denver Zoo spokeswoman Tiffany Barnhart. “She was well-known and loved. Her death is even more difficult because it is the end of an era. She was the last of the iconic Denver Zoo polar bears that came to Northern Shores in 1987.”

Soosha came to Denver 24 years ago from Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C.