There’s a Very Lonely Polar Bear at the Central Park Zoo


On Friday, Ida, one of the Central Park Zoo’s two polar bears, was humanely euthanized after suffering an extended bout of liver cancer. That leaves her companion of 24 years, Gus, alone, and zookeepers are worried that the 25-year-old bear may spiral into depression after losing his mate. It wouldn’t be the first time: In 1994, Gus began swimming endless laps, and the zoo brought in a therapist to treat him with toy aversion therapy. While polar bears don’t mate for life like, say, penguins do, they do like company. And so, yes, Gus is probably in mourning right now. “For any animal that forms a close bond with another one, there would be some sense of loss,” said Dr. David Sheperdson, an expert in bear behavior at Oregon Zoo in Portland. Gus spent much of the weekend resting quietly atop the rocks in his pen. Sounds like he could use a friend. [City Room/NYT]