PHOTOS: 36-year-old polar bear ‘Uulu’ dies at San Francisco zoo

(Marianne Hale)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A 36-year-old polar bear has died at the San Francisco zoo, officials said on Friday.

Zoo officials said Uulu died due to congestive heart failure and old age. Uulu was one of the oldest polar bears in the country.

“Her long life speaks to the quality care she received from the Zoo’s animal caretakers, veterinarians, and wellness experts. She was the focus of several behavioral studies on geriatric animal care and was featured in a published paper in the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums journal about aging animal care at SF Zoo. This thoughtful approach was highlighted in the news in May of 2016,” officials said in a press release.

Uulu was beloved by the zoo community, officials said.

“Uulu was the center of attention on special “snow days”. Twice in 2016, ten tons of snow was blown into her habitat as an enrichment treat. The most recent snow day was Friday, November 11, when more than 6,000 visitors watched her roll and slide in the snow. Over the last few years, she has been celebrated on International Polar Bear Day, which calls attention to the impact of climate change. SF Zoo’s most recent celebration on February 25, 2017, drew thousands of guests,” zoo officials said.

The 545-pound bear enjoyed romaine lettuce and chicken.

“We are all tremendously saddened by the passing of our polar bear. She was an amazing animal ambassador and helped to educate millions of visitors over the years about polar bear conservation,” said Tanya M. Peterson, who is the President of San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. “Uulu was well-known by many Zoo guests and she will be missed by all who connected with, and cared for her over the years.”

The zoo rescued the bear from Manitoba, Canada when she was just 3 years old.

Uulu’s mother and siblings were considered “problem bears,” the zoo said. They were allegedly caught at a local dump and trying to go inside a home.

Uulu was the only polar bear at the zoo, officials said.

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