Central Park Zoo’s Polar Bear, Gus, Dies

NEW YORK (AP) -

A popular polar bear named Gus who attracted millions of visitors to the Central Park Zoo and outlived both of his longtime companions has died. He was 27.

Veterinarians euthanized Gus on Tuesday. He’d had a poor appetite and difficulty chewing and swallowing; it was determined he had a large inoperable tumor in his thyroid region.

Officials estimate more than 20 million zoo-goers visited Gus, including many New Yorkers who grew up watching him.

Gus had been at the Manhattan zoo since 1988. He was born at the Toledo Zoo in Ohio.

In 1994, concern developed over his repetitive swimming pattern. An enrichment program was designed that included positive reinforcement, movable items for him to manipulate and foraging for food to keep his mind and body healthy.