Columbus Zoo mourns loss of beloved polar bear

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Columbus Zoo mourns loss of polar bear

COLUMBUS- The staff at the Columbus Zoo is mourning the loss of their beloved polar bear.

The zoo announced on Facebook Wednesday that they said their goodbyes to 29-year-old Nanuq, who was battling liver cancer.

In the Facebook post the zoo said, after consultation with zoo veterinary staff and specialists from MedVet, the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize Nanuq this morning.

The polar bear, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, had surpassed the 20.7-year median life expectancy for male polar bears in a North American zoo by more than eight years.

Nanuq was rescued as an orphan in Alaska in 1988, and he came to the Columbus Zoo in 2012 from the Buffalo Zoo.

In mid-February, animal care staff noticed clinical signs of illness and decreased activity in Nanuq, resulting in a round of tests.

Blood work indicated reduced liver function, and while he initially showed some improvement with medical management, the staff became more concerned when his symptoms recently returned. Suspecting liver cancer, veterinarians worked with MedVet to perform an ultrasound, which revealed multiple masses in his liver. The Columbus Zoo staff said treatment options were limited and considered to be high-risk..

During his time at the Columbus Zoo Nanuq fathered four litters with female polar bears Aurora and Anana.