Beloved Milwaukee County Zoo polar bear dead at 36

MILWAUKEE — North America’s oldest polar bear in human care has died, the Milwaukee County Zoo announced Saturday.

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The zoo on Friday euthanized Snow Lilly, who was 36, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. The bear was euthanized due to declining health and subsequent quality of life concerns, zoo officials said in a news release. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the median life expectancy for polar bears in human care is 23.4 years.

“Snow Lilly arrived here in 2005 and soon became a favorite,” the zoo wrote in a Facebook post. “She enjoyed swimming in her pool and could be seen bouncing a large rubber ball on the bottom of the pool like a basketball.”

The bear, who arrived in Milwaukee from the Bronx Zoo, also enjoyed apples, peanut butter and molasses as her favorite treats, WITI reported.

“Snow Lilly was a visitor favorite at the zoo and considered one of the iconic animals in the population,” Amos Morris, the zoo’s director, said in a statement. “She will be sorely missed by both staff and visitors.”

In 2018, the zoo used Snow Lilly to usher in Groundhog Day ceremonies, the Journal Sentinel reported.

A necropsy will be performed, with final results expected in the next few months, the newspaper reported.