Gus the polar bear: a Central Park Zoo favorite

Gus the polar bear was euthanized Tuesday after 25 years at the Manhattan zoo. Zoo officials estimate Gus the polar bear was seen by more than 20 million people and helped draw attention to climate change.

Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society/AP/File
Gus, the polar bear at Central Park Zoo in New York (seen here in 2012), was euthanized Tuesday. Gus lived to be 27 when the median life expectancy for male polar bears in zoos is less than 21.

The Central Park Zoo has lost a popular polar bear.

The Wildlife Conservation Society says veterinarians euthanized Gus on Tuesday. He had a large inoperable tumor.

Gus was 27. The median life expectancy for male polar bears in zoos is less than 21.

Officials estimate more than 20 million zoo-goers visited Gus. They say he drew attention to the effects of climate change on bears in the wild.

He'd been at the Manhattan zoo since 1988. He was born in Toledo, Ohio.

In 1994, concern developed over his repetitive swimming pattern. An enrichment program was designed that included moveable items for him to manipulate. Experts also had Gus forage for food to keep his mind and body healthy.

Gus outlived two longtime female companions, Ida and Lily.

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