CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden announced the death of its polar bear named Little One Saturday morning.
Little One was born at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Dec. 13, 1989.
The bear was 31 years old—the second oldest male polar bear in the country, according to Cincinnati Zoo.
Cincinnati Zoo received Little One in 2007.
Up until recently, Little One would swim, take naps, enjoy the enrichment pool and snack on treats he was given, but staff at the zoo noticed he had a decreased interest in those activities.
Vet staff ran tests and determined Little One was in renal failure, the zoo said.
The zoo humanely euthanized Little One Saturday morning.
“He’ll be greatly missed by our Zoo team and surely by our community. Little One was a great ambassador for his species. He’s contributed to the work that CREW scientists are doing to save polar bears, and he’s inspired millions of people to connect further to wildlife,” Cincinnati Zoo wrote on Facebook.
The median life expectancy for a male polar bear is 21, the zoo said. His long life was attributed to the care he received and his daily enrichment, diet and comfortable environment.
“Over my 30 plus year career, I’ve had the privilege of caring for 17 polar bears in two zoos. All of them have been amazing animals to care for,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s head bear keeper Lisa Vollmer. “Saying goodbye is always hard, and it was especially hard with Little One. He was one of the most easy going bears I’ve ever worked with and had a great disposition. His passing leaves a huge hole in hearts of all of us who cared for him. Rest in peace Little One. We love you and you will be missed.”
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