Mercedes the polar bear put to sleep


It was “with great sadness” that the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland announced the death of the 30 year old polar bear Mercedes who had been suffering from severe arthritis.  Mercedes was brought to Edinburgh Zoo in 1984, after she was shot in Canada.

During her 25 years in Edinburgh, Mercedes had two cubs, both by her partner Barney, who was born at Whipsnade Zoo in England.

After the death of Barney in 1996, Mercedes lived alone at Edinburgh Zoo until she moved to the Highland Wildlife Park in 2009.

A two-year-old male polar bear called Walker was introduced to Mercedes’s enclosure in November 2010 but the elderly Mercedes was none too happy to have to play with the young cub.

A statement from the RZSS, which runs Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park, said: “More recently we noted a marked and rapid downturn in her behaviour and her demeanour, and she appeared to be ageing very rapidly and possibly showing signs of senility.

“We had been keeping her separate from the male bear so as to avoid any possibility of him causing her to move more than she wanted to.

“Recently, all of the individuals responsible for her care sadly concluded that our only remaining option was to put her to sleep on age and health grounds.”

Simon Girling, RZSS head of veterinary services, said: “We have been monitoring Mercedes’s condition for some time now and have tried a number of different therapies for her advanced arthritis, which we were having some success with.

“However, even on medication, Mercedes has now taken a significant turn for the worse in terms of her mobility and is also showing signs of mental confusion.

“This deterioration in her welfare has prompted us to step in and humanely euthanase her.”{jcomments on}