Berlin, oldest polar bear in the US, has died at 33 — rest in peace

There are some zoo animals that live for decades, becoming favorites of generations of visitors and serving as ambassadors for their species.

That was the case for Berlin, a resident of the Kansas City Zoo who at 33 was the oldest polar bear in human care in the United States. Sadly, the zoo announced last week that Berlin has died.

In a Facebook post, the zoo wrote that Berlin had been experiencing hypertension and renal failure, and after exhausting all treatment options they made the difficult decision of euthanizing the polar bear.

Despite her health issues at the end, Berlin lived a good long life, which the Kansas City Zoo described as “a testament to the extraordinary care she received from her animal care and veterinary health teams.”

Berlin was born at the Cincinnati Zoo on December 11, 1989, shortly after the Berlin Wall fell, thus inspiring her name.

In 2012, she resided at Lake Superior Zoo until it flooded, and had to swim to the perimeter wall of her habitat.

She then arrived at the Kansas City Zoo in December 2012, where she was known as “a beloved ambassador for her species and helped contribute to research that has benefited the wild polar bear population.”

The zoo also supports a conservation fund for polar bears, and says their annual contribution will be made in honor of Berlin.

Berlin received the best care and her specialists recalled her “smart and sassy” personality,” remembering that she gave her caregivers “a run for their money.”

Rest in peace, Berlin. Thank you for being such a great ambassador for your species and bringing joy to so many people.

Please share this story in memory of Berlin 💔🐻‍❄️