SALINA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Rolling Hills Zoo (RHZ), located in Salina, has announced the death of 28-year-old Boo Boo, its male Andean bear.
(Courtesy: Rolling Hills Zoo)
According to the RHZ, the median life span of an Andean bear, also known as a spectacled bear, is 20 years in human care. The median life span of an Andean bear is not known in the wild.
“As the keepers were doing their morning checks, they discovered that Boo Boo was experiencing acute mobility issues,” the RHZ said. “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.”
“It has been a rough couple of weeks. It’s always tough to lose animal friends as they age,” said 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.”
Boo Boo was born on Feb. 12, 1994, at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Lincoln, Nebraska, according to RHZ. He was brought 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,” the RHZ said.
The Zoo says Boo Boo was a fan favorite and 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’s favorite food was peanut butter, honey, and salmon,” said 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.”
The RHZ says Boo Boo was smart and that his keepers were convinced that he could count.
“To get him inside at night, we had to give him five peanuts,” RHZ Register Vickie Musselman said. “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.”
The RHZ still has plenty of other animals you can visit. The Zoo and Museum are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. Admission are $15 for adults, $14 for seniors (65+), $9 for children (9-12) and children two and under are free. For more information, visit the Rolling Hills Zoo’s website.