Debby, the world's oldest polar bear has died. Suffering from multiple organ failure, she was euthanized earlier this week, just a month shy of her 42nd birthday. Some polar bears living in captivity make it into their 30s, but few in the wild reach 20 years of age. Earlier this year the Guinness Book of World Records certified she was the oldest polar bear on record and one of the three oldest bears ever documented from any of the eight bear species.
Born in 1966 at the height of the Cold War in the former Soviet Union’s Arctic Island’s Region, Debby was orphaned at a very young age, but was rescued by the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In her years at the Canadian zoo she gave birth to six cubs with her mate of almost thirty years, Skipper, who died in 1999 at age 34. All of their offspring are still alive today.
As tributes pour in from around the world, a memorial is planned at the zoo this coming Saturday at noon at the zoo's Animal Tracks Café.