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Buffalo Zoo says goodbye to oldest living spectacled bear

by jmaloni

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Wed, Dec 17th 2014 02:00 pm
Diana (photo by Kelly Ann Brown, Buffalo Zoo registrar)
Diana (photo by Kelly Ann Brown, Buffalo Zoo registrar)

The Buffalo Zoo is saddened by the loss of its spectacled bear, Diana, who was humanely euthanized Tuesday due to declining health. At 35 years old, Diana was the oldest spectacled bear in the world at the time of her death.

Spectacled bears typically live around 20-25 years in captivity, and slightly less in the wild.

Diana's personality and longevity made her a favorite Buffalo Zoo resident for staff and guests. Her presence in the venue's "Vanishing North" exhibit will be sorely missed.

Diana was born at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago in January 1979. She has been at the Buffalo Zoo since May 1980. Over her long life, Diana gave birth to three surviving cubs, who parented a total of eight offspring of their own, greatly contributing to the North American spectacled bear population.

Spectacled bears (also known as Andean bears) are listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Animals. There are believed to be fewer than 2,000 remaining in the wild. They are managed as a "Species Survival Plan" by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and cooperating zoos.

"When animals in zoos live well beyond their average captive lifespan, it speaks to the high quality of care they received," said Dr. Donna Fernandes, Buffalo Zoo president and CEO. "The Buffalo Zoo is home to several long-lived and recordbreaking animals. For example, servals Bob and Zizzi are the two oldest males in the United States. In 2014, the zoo said good bye to Delmonico, the addax antelope, and Shanta, a Sulawesi macaque, who were the oldest living individuals of their species at the time of their deaths."

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