DENVER

Denver Zoo Mourns Death Of Soosha: Iconic Polar Bear Euthanized Due To Failing Health (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

03/21/2012 10:11 am 10:11:55 | Updated Mar 21, 2012

The Denver Zoo is mourning the death of its female polar bear Soosha who had to be euthanized last week due to failing health. Soosha was 25-years-old.

Fox31 reports that the Zoo made the difficult decision to euthanize Soosha on March 14 when she began to show increased joint pain and increased general lethargy. The Denver Zoo said Soosha had been receiving medication for her joint pain, but was not returning to her normal self after treatment. Her health continued to decline and eventually she began to refuse food.

"As hard as it is, this was the right thing to do," Dr. Scott Larson, the zoo's vice president of veterinary medicine, said to The Denver Post. Although Soosha was observed to be in poor health, a conclusive cause as to what was actually wrong with the bear was not determined after multiple medical examinations.

Soosha arrived at The Denver Zoo nearly 24 years ago from the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, S.C. as one of the original bears in the Northern Shore exhibit. Tiffany Barnhart with The Denver Zoo told 7News, "She was the last of the iconic Denver Zoo polar bears that came to Northern Shores in 1987. Soosha was adored by zoo staff and our community. She was well-known and loved."

According to The Denver Zoo, polar bears generally live 20-25 years in the wild and 25-30 years in captivity.

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