Monday, January 11, 2016

Farewell to Zero

We have lost a legendary bear. Zero, who had just turned 26 years old in December, was suffering from lymphoma, and was released from his pain on January 10. His health and energy had been declining for several weeks.

Zero spent a lot of time in the pool, in front of the viewing window
 Zero had lived at the Rocky Coast at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York, with the shy Aurora, a 26 year old lady bear. Aurora has had cubs, but they were not with Zero.

Zero loved to sit under the waterfalls
Under the waterfall again

Zero loved his pool 

Zero swimming and swimming
 Zero was known for his big personality and playful nature. He loved to interact with his visitors, splash around with his toys, swim laps in front of the viewing window, and take naps outside so everyone could watch him. He also loved sitting under the pounding waterfalls of the Rocky Coasts.

Zero was always doing something amusing

In front of the viewing window

Zero had many fans. He was also fun to watch

Aurora, on the other had, is happy to spend her time inside unless the keepers put out some food so it is a rare opportunity to see her. Zero was the big attraction at the Rocky Coast.

Zero had lots of toys, but the big blue barrel was a favorite

Roll out the barrel

A balancing act

Playing to the crowd

Clever Zero
 Zero, who was born to Mishka (sister of Patches and Bam Bam) in the Milwaukee Zoo on December 14, 1989, gained worldwide fame for his adventure when, while playing with a toy, he fell into a safety net in an 18 foot deep moat in his enclosure in the Milwaukee County Zoo in October of 2008. He stayed down in the moat for 18 days this time, and garnered worldwide attention, as many sent in suggestions as to how to lure him out of the moat. There were daily news stories on Zero and his status. Zero had done the same thing some years earlier, when he took a week to climb the stairs out of the moat.

Snow Lilly walks along above the moat
 at the Milwaukee County Zoo that Zero refused to leave.

 This time, even though zookeepers had given him half rations of food in the hopes of luring him out because of hunger, Zero showed no interest in leaving the moat, the zookeepers finally had to anesthetize him and lift him out with a crane.

Zero shaking off the water

Zero, who was named Zero because of the outside temperature on the day he was born, moved to the Seneca Park Zoo in January of 2010, after four years of living with Snow Lilly in Milwaukee and producing no cubs. Snow Lilly had kind of given Zero the cold shoulder, and there was really no romance there. It was hoped that Aurora in the Seneca Park Zoo would find Zero more attractive, and produce cubs, but that did not happen. In 2012, Zero and Aurora were part of a groundbreaking Artificial Insemination experiment, but that did not produce cubs either.

Zero floating by the viewing window
Zero was part of the Olaf and Olga family, whose line is dying out in this country. Olaf and Olga, Mishka's parents, raised seven cubs at the Omaha Zoo (only Bam Bam still survives), and have many descendants in Europe. Zero's uncle Omaha was the father of Olink of Rotterdam, Netherlands, who has eight cubs. In the USA, Zero's uncle Shep was the grandfather of Berlin of the Kansas City Zoo (no cubs). Zero was also the uncle of Berit of the Cincinnati Zoo (no cubs).

Farewell to a well loved bear. We will miss you, Zero.

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