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Bethyl the Kodiak Bear

We’ve all been saddened to farewell Bethyl, the Kodiak Bear at Taronga Zoo today.

Bethyl was 35 years old, which made her one of the oldest Kodiak Bears in the world.  She’d been experiencing a range of age-related complaints in recent years which, despite being on treatments, had been affecting her movement and quality of life.

When her condition suddenly worsened over the weekend, it became clear she was suffering daily and the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanase her.

Bethyl was born in Colorado Springs, 17 January 1977 and lived briefly at Adelaide Zoo prior to her arrival at Taronga with Cynthia in 1985. In her remarkably long life, Bethyl outlived her den-mates ‘Barney’ and sister, ‘Cynthia’. Researchers studying wild bears on Kodiak Island were astonished Bethyl had lived to such an age, and sent e-mails of congratulations to her keepers after hearing of her birthday in the media a few years ago.

Throughout her long life she received expert care and attention from her incredibly dedicated keepers and vets, and benefited from thousands of hours of observation by Behavioural Studies Unit volunteers, all of whom can be proud of the quality of the life she lived and the dignity of her passing.

Taronga Zoo’s Exotic Fauna Manager, Amanda Everett, said:  “Although this was a difficult decision, it was the right decision to make. We owed it to Bethyl, at this stage, to alleviate her discomfort and let her slip away peacefully. Bethyl was a much-loved part of the Taronga family.”

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