A Minnesota zoo is mourning the loss of its beloved polar bear.
Buzz, 24, had suffered health problems due to suspected neurological issues, the zoo said in a Facebook post. Only after exhausting treatment options did their animal care and veterinary team make the “difficult decision to humanely euthanize” him.
Buzz and his twin brother, Neil, were born in 1995 at the Louisville Zoo, and named for the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the zoo said. They came to Como Park Zoo in 2001 from San Diego.
“Buzz enjoyed rolling in the dirt, patrolling the exhibit, and bossing around his brother,” the zoo said on Facebook. “He was an active participant in the zoo’s operant conditioning training program and was the third polar bear in the country to allow zookeepers to draw blood voluntarily (Neil was the second).”
Hundreds of park patrons reacted to news of Buzz’s passing by sharing memories of the bear on the zoo’s Facebook page.
“We will all miss Buzz he has touched so many of us!! He lived a great life at Como and taught so many people about saving sea ice,” Becky McGowan wrote.
In addition to being a prime attraction, Buzz was also an ambassador of conservation.