Sun bear passes away at Akron Zoo after battle with cancer

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AKRON, Ohio- A sun bear passed away at the Akron Zoo on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Muffin the sun bear (Photo courtesy: Akron Zoo)

Muffin the sun bear (Photo courtesy: Akron Zoo)

Muffin, who was born at the Maryland Zoo in 1987, had not been on display since her diagnosis with oral squamous cell carcinoma in 2005. She received chemo and laser therapy, and her cancer went into remission in 2009.

Four other sun bears were diagnosed with the same cancer since 2005, including Muffin’s exhibit mate Ringo. He passed away in 2008. While working with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, the staff the Akron Zoo discovered a new type of virus, which might have contributed to the cancer.

“Our professional animal care and veterinary care staff have provided exceptional care for Muffin during her cancer treatment, recovery, and through her advanced age,” Akron Zoo President and CEO Doug Piekarz said in a news release on Friday. “The result of that care has added to the body of knowledge about this type of cancer treatment in sun bears, and will help other sun bears in the future.”

The median life expectancy for sun bears is 23 years, the zoo said.

For more information on the Akron Zoo, click here.

Akron Zoo