New York City and visitors to the Central Park Zoo lost their “Neurotic Polar Bear” Tuesday night.
Earlier in the day, veterinarians discovered Gus, 27, had an inoperable tumor in his thyroid region and euthanized him later that evening. In the wild, the average polar bear lives just shy of 21 years, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
What was his claim to fame? Like a typical New Yorker, Gus just couldn’t stop. During his 25 years at the zoo, tens of millions of people lined up to see Gus swim laps … for up to 12 hours a day, every day. Also known as the bi-polar bear (get it?), the zoo eventually hired an animal behaviorist to cure Gus’ woes. The psychiatrist concluded that Gus was bored.
At 1,000 pounds, Gus lived in an enclosure described as “a rocky expanse containing a waterfall, some ice, and 90,000 gallons of freshwater. The water is 10 feet deep … Each bear has a den with air conditioning to help get through the hottest days.”
In contrast, according to the nonprofit, Zoocheck Canada, a wild polar bear’s territory can extend to 116,000 square miles, and they have the stamina to swim 60 miles in the ocean without rest.
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