(Trends Wide) — The oldest polar bear in human care in North America died Friday, according to the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin.
Snow Lilly “was humanely euthanized yesterday due to deteriorating health,” the zoo announced Saturday on Facebook. He was 36 years old.
The average life expectancy of a polar bear in human care is 23.4 years, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In the wild, they live an average of 15 to 18 years, according to the Polar Bears International organization.
Snow Lilly “soon became a favorite” after arriving from the Bronx Zoo in New York in 2005, the zoo said.
“She will be deeply missed by staff and visitors,” said director Amos Morris, according to Trends Wide affiliate WDJT. “As a geriatric bear, the animal care staff watched her closely and observed signs of any discomfort or deterioration in her quality of life.”
The bear liked to swim in his pool in the summer, “bouncing a big rubber ball off the bottom of the pool like a basketball,” the zoo noted.
“Snow Lilly was able to interact with enrichment items on a daily basis that encouraged natural behaviors and kept her mind and body active until the very end,” said the director, according to WDJT.
In recent years, she had been given supplements and medications for her joints, according to Morris.