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Zoo Grieves Loss of Bear

Todd PittengerJune 27, 2022

Rolling Hills Zoo is mourning the loss of another member of its animal family.

According to the zoo, male Andean bear Boo Boo has passed away  at the age of 28. The median lifespan of an Andean bear, also known as the spectacled bear, is 20 years old in human care, and in the wild is unknown.

As the keepers were doing their morning checks they discovered that Boo Boo was experiencing acute mobility issues. Upon further examination by the animal care staff it became clear that recovery was not possible and the quality of his life would be severely impacted. It was determined that humanly euthanizing him was the kindest option available.

Born on February 12, 1994 at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Lincoln NE, Boo Boo moved to Rolling Hills Zoo
in 2007 on a breeding recommendation to breed with Japura, the zoo’s female Andean bear. Sadly they
were never able to conceive.

A long-time fan favorite, Boo Boo could often be found enjoying the cooling waters of his pool, relaxing in his hammock, or forging for special treats left for him in his yard by the keepers.

Boo Boo was a smart bear, and the keepers were convinced he could count. “To get him inside at night
we had to give him five peanuts,” explained Vickie Musselman, Rolling Hills Zoo Register. “As we would give the
peanuts to him one by one, he would hold them in his mouth until you gave him five. Once you gave
him the fifth one he would drop them on the ground and proceed to eat them, but not until he had
five.”

“Boo Boo’s favorite food was peanut butter, honey, and salmon,” shared keeper Anna Klaas. “He
loved sitting in his pond for a nice soak on a hot day, and was a gentlemen to Japura, letting her sit in his
hammocks even though she would vocalize at him to move. He would also call for her every morning
afternoon and evening.”

“It has been a rough couple of weeks. It’s always tough to lose animals friends as they age,” commented
Ryan VanZant, Rolling Hills Zoo Executive Director. “Boo Boo was beloved by our staff and guests. He certainly
embodied our mission statement by touching the hearts of our guests, and he was quite an ambassador
for his species by igniting a passion to save them in the wild.”

 

Rollins Hills Zoo photos

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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