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Tucson says goodbye to beloved bear after humanely euthanized at Reid Park Zoo

Reid Park Zoo

TUCSON (KVOA) - After winning the hearts of guests for years, Worf, a beloved bear, said his final goodbyes to Tucson before Reid Park Zoo humanely euthanized the 27-year-old on Wednesday.

According to zoo officials, the elderly bear was humanely euthanized on Wednesday after battling with "significant loss in mobility and pain due to age-related arthritis."

“Our animal care staff and veterinary team did an amazing job managing Worf’s health,” said Sue Tygielski, Director of Zoo Operations. “The team worked together to monitor the effects of his pain medication, that it was providing relief without making him sleepy or groggy. However, arthritis is progressive and ultimately impacted Worf’s ability to move through his habitat safely.”

People who knew Worf well said he was regularly spotted spending hours in his pool playing with toys and cooling off. Zoo staff said the bear eyes would always light up when he would come across one of his favorite snacks - bananas, watermelon, figs, bamboo or umbrella grass.

Reid Park Zoo said during his time at the zoo, the medical staff help manage the Andean bear's pain from arthritis in his hips and front legs with pain medication. In addition, Worf previously received treatment for cancer in his paw, which was said to be in remission. 

According to the zoo, the staff are keeping a close eye on Worf's companion, 6-year-old Oja.

This year alone, Reid Park Zoo reported the death of five of its inhabitants. Similar to Worf, two tigers and a lion, were all humanely euthanized. The zoo also experienced the death of a newly-born zebra.

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Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.

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