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Buzz the polar bear, longtime Como Park Zoo resident, dies at 24

He passed away due to "suspected neurological issues."

A polar bear who became one of the more popular attractions at St. Paul's Como Park Zoo has passed away.

On Saturday, the zoo announced that Buzz was humanely euthanized "due to suspected neurological issues":

The decision came after "all treatment options were exhausted with the animal care and veterinary team."

Buzz was 24 years old; most polar bears in the wild live from 15 to 18 years old. (In captivity, they can live past the age of 30 in some cases, with one captive polar bear in Canada reaching the age of 42). 

Buzz was born at the Louisville Zoo along with his twin brother Neil, both named after the first men to walk on the moon, in 1995. The pair would come to Como Park from the San Diego Zoo in 2001.

Como Park says Buzz was an "active participant" in the zoo's training programs, and that he was the third polar bear in the country to allow zookeepers to draw blood voluntarily (after his brother).

(This involves training the bears to "tolerate blood draws without having to be tranquilized," Popular Science says. The magazine adds that specialized cages, along with feeding and comfort from a zookeeper, makes this possible, cutting down on the animal's stress.)

"Buzz has been a proud ambassador of conservation and will be missed by all," the release says. 

 

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