Gus, The Central Park Polar Bear, Died of a "Broken Heart"

Categories: Central Park, Zoos

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Marie-Lan Nguyen
RIP, sleepy bub.
Gus, the lumbering white bear on display at the Central Park Zoo, has died at the age of 27. The lovable oaf had an inoperable tumor in his throat, prompting zoo officials to euthanize him. Gus's mate Ida was euthanized in 2011 after battling her own cancer. The old boy has kept a much lower profile ever since. At least now they're reunited in Arctic Circle Heaven, along with the Arctic Circle itself.

Gus came to the Central Park Zoo in 1988 from the Toledo zoo where he was born. In that time he came to become a crowd favorite here in New York.

He was 27 when he died, 7 years longer than the normal life expectancy for a male polar bear. Gus had a good run: he outlived both of his female companions. His other mate, Lily, died in 2004 at 18. She, like Ida and Gus, was also euthanized following a cancer diagnosis.

Send your story tips to the author, Raillan Brooks.


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60 comments
Amy Day
Amy Day

people make their living on the lives of caged wild animals ... they should all be ashamed.

Amy Day
Amy Day

he died because he wasn't supposed to live there ... leave the wild animals alone ... they don't need our "help"!!

George Charles Hartman
George Charles Hartman

Gus lived 7 years beyond expectancy. Did you ever visit Gus?? What a happy Bear !!! He put on a show all day.Still caged but well taken care of.

Chrissy Makris
Chrissy Makris

yeah, he was. polar bears live anywhere from 15-35 max....so 27 was fairly old.

Wayne Dorell
Wayne Dorell

not in a cage. have never seen an animal in a cage that looked happy. it's torture...

Chrissy Makris
Chrissy Makris

no. he died because he had an inoperable heart tumor,,,\

Chrissy Makris
Chrissy Makris

i agree 100%...except in the cases where they were rescued/rehabilitated and had little chance of survival in the wild...which actually has become somewhat of the norm in zoos lately.

Chrissy Makris
Chrissy Makris

of course you can support them. it doesn't mean you agree with why they are caged (even though sometimes captivity = rescue, in some cases, not all) it just means you support their continued existence.

Chrissy Makris
Chrissy Makris

agreed. captivity + depression from losing a cage mate didn't help, but that's not why he passed away.

Josetth Gordon
Josetth Gordon

hmmm.. i wonder why all 3 were diagnosed with cancer?!!!

Rob Berry
Rob Berry

What are they feeding them to give them all cancer?

Gloria Monti
Gloria Monti

barbara, just read monika's reply. how can you compare rats to polar bears? how can you claim that life in captivity is preferable to life in the wild? where is the human company in a zoo for a bear? and since when do polar bear need human company? PETA are not nuts, they work tirelessly to defend the rights of animals who are systematically abused for entertainment, food, clothing, vivisection, sheer cruelty, neglect .... the works.

Monika Bolino
Monika Bolino

I visited Gus a few weeks ago (my first trip to a zoo in decades) and he was in a miserable environment -- no miles to roam, no deep water to swim in…nope, not a happy life. It's the age old ethical question -- do animals benefit from being "safe" but captive, or free and susceptible to life's unpredictabilities? Which would you choose for yourself?

Monika Bolino
Monika Bolino

and the stress of captivity probably did not help his immune system...

Nina LaMonica
Nina LaMonica

Wonder how many die of cancer, if left where they belong. NOT IN A NYC POOL!!

Sharon Alouf
Sharon Alouf

I wonder what they are feeding the bears that they all die from throat cancer... and you still title your blog broken heart???

Karl Wolff
Karl Wolff

I blame Miley Cyrus, because ... why the hell not?

Manuel Ferreiro
Manuel Ferreiro

Does anybody thinks about how peculiar it is that these 3 Polar Bears were all diagnosed with cancer, when Polar Bears dont really get cancer in the wild? I find that interesting.

Barbara Jackson
Barbara Jackson

I have enjoyed the company of hundreds of animals and had pet rats live to be seven and eight years old. They all died of fibrosarcoma and according to a vet school they had more than doubled the life span of a normal rat. Polar bears in the wild are dying horrible deaths, are you a PETA numb Nut? Preferring dead animals to those who have human company!

Len Ginn
Len Ginn

Slave bear for New Yorkers.

Gloria Monti
Gloria Monti

barbara, to quote joy grisham, are you being insulting or merely stupid?

Gloria Monti
Gloria Monti

bears do not belong in concentration camps called zoos.

Barbara Jackson
Barbara Jackson

Live long enough and you will get cancer it seems. He had a pretty good life.

epac666
epac666 topcommenter

"Polar Bears dont really get cancer in the wild"...how do you know that?

bklynsteph
bklynsteph

@Barbara Jackson It's the diet and the environment, more to it than that.


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