The Rolling Hills Zoo (RHZ) family is grieving the loss of Boo Boo, their male Andean bear, at the age of 28.  The median lifespan of an Andean bear,also known as the spectacled bear, is 20 years old in human care, and in the wild is unknown.

As the keepers were doing their morning checks they discovered that Boo Boo was experiencing acute mobility issues. Upon further examination by the animal care staff it became clear that recovery was not possible and the quality of his life would be severely impacted.  It was determined that humanly euthanizing him was the kindest option available.

Born on February 12, 1994 at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Lincoln NE, Boo Boo moved to Rolling Hills Zoo in 2007 on a breeding recommendation to breed with Japura, RHZ’s female Andean bear. Sadly they were never able to conceive.

A long-time fan favorite at RHZ, Boo Boo could often be found enjoying the cooling waters of his pool, relaxing in his hammock, or forging for special treats left for him in his yard by the keepers.

Boo Boo was a smart bear, and the keepers were convinced he could count. “To get him inside at night we had to give him five peanuts,” explained Vickie Musselman, RHZ Register. “As we would give the peanuts to him one by one, he would hold them in his mouth until you gave him five.  Once you gave him the fifth one he would drop them on the ground and proceed to eat them, but not until he had five.”

“Boo Boo’s favorite food was peanut butter, honey, and salmon,” shared Anna Klaas, RHZ keeper.  “He loved sitting in his pond for a nice soak on a hot day, and was a gentlemen to Japura, letting her sit in his hammocks even though she would vocalize at him to move. He would also call for her every morning afternoon and evening.”

“It has been a rough couple of weeks.  It’s always tough to lose animals friends as they age,” commented Ryan VanZant, RHZ Executive Director.  “Boo Boo was beloved by our staff and guests.  He certainly embodied our mission statement by touching the hearts of our guests, and he was quite an ambassador for his species by igniting a passion to save them in the wild.”

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