One of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's two grizzly bears was euthanized today after he was found unresponsive in his nighttime quarters Friday morning.
The 760-pound male grizzly was captive-born and came to Cleveland in 1975 from the Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens at age 11 months.
The 35-year-old grizzly, known as "Lester," suffered from age-related ailments such as arthritis, but the immediate cause of his rapid decline in health is unknown. A necropsy (animal autopsy) will be performed, the results of which will be released when they become available.
Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the wild have an average lifespan of 20-30 years, and typically live a few years longer in captivity.
Lester shared his exhibit in Northern Trek with the Zoo's other grizzly, his offspring, Warren, age 26.
Once widespread throughout western Canada, Alaska and the western United States, grizzly bears have since retreated to the north, with very few left in the contiguous U.S. outside of Yellowstone National Park, where their numbers are slowly increasing.