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A member of the family at the San Francisco has died. Zoo officials made the painful decision to put down Andy the polar bear after they learned she was in the final stages of liver failure.
"This is always the hardest decision, but everyone feels this is the right decision for Andy," stated Tanya Peterson, executive director and president of the San Francisco Zoo. "Andy was an ambassador for her species and she will be deeply missed by everyone."
Andy survived 27 years which is above average for polar bears in captivity. She spent a quarter of a century in San Francisco. She arrived there in 1985 after being born at the Atlanta zoo on Christmas Day 1982.
The San Francisco Zoo has two remaining polar bears named Uulu and Piké. Uulu, 29, is currently the oldest living female polar bear in North America. Piké is the same age as Andy at 27 years old.
From all accounts it looks like Andy went down quickly.
"Animals maintain a strong instinct and are known to hide their illnesses," said Corinne MacDonald, curator of primates and carnivores. "Keepers are always on alert, but it isn’t until the animal’s behaviors change dramatically that their caretakers know something is truly wrong."