Beloved polar bear euthanized at Brookfield Zoo

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BROOKFIELD, Ill. — A sad day at Brookfield Zoo, where a beloved polar bear was euthanized.

At 32 years old, Aussie was the oldest male polar bear in an accredited North American zoo.

Zoo officials say he was experiencing a number of age-related degenerative diseases, like arthritis in his legs.

Over the past several weeks, zoo officials noticed a decline in his condition.

Aussie was born in Australia in 1985 and came to Brookfield Zoo in December of ‘86.

Dr. Michael Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages the zoo, said in a statement:

Aussie has been part of our family here at Brookfield Zoo for more than 30 years, and today is a difficult day for our team. However, it is the best decision for Aussie as medications could no longer control the pain associated with his age-related arthritis. Our staff could tell his comfort was really declining and knew it was the right time. It is very similar to the tough decisions that people must make for their pets at home in deciding when to say goodbye.