Africa’s last polar bear dies at Joburg Zoo

2014-08-13 15:22

Wang, Africa’s last polar bear, has died.

He was put down by chief veterinarian Dr Brett Gardner due to liver and heart failure, the Johannesburg Zoo’s spokesperson, Jenny Moodley, said today.

Wang, who was born in 1984, arrived at the zoo in 1986 as part of a conservation exchange programme with a zoo in China. He was diagnosed with liver ailments in November 2010.

“At 30 years polar bears are considered to have reached their full lifespan for the species,” said Moodley.

Wang’s partner for 27 years, GeeBee, died of natural causes in January.

“His distraught keeper... Agnes Maluleke ensured that in the recent weeks his days were filled with enrichment programmes and special treats, including his own Valentine’s Day celebration,” said Moodley.

The zoo decided in 2010 not to replace the ageing polar bears.

“This decision is still effective,” she said.

As a tribute to Wang, the zoo would dedicate the Zoo Trot on September 14 to him.

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