Oregon Zoo's 31-year-old polar bear Conrad euthanized due to liv - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon Zoo's 31-year-old polar bear Conrad euthanized due to liver tumor

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Conrad, a 31-year-old polar bear at the Oregon Zoo, was euthanized Thursday due to a liver tumor. (Photo: Oregon Zoo) Conrad, a 31-year-old polar bear at the Oregon Zoo, was euthanized Thursday due to a liver tumor. (Photo: Oregon Zoo)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A longtime fixture at the Oregon Zoo was euthanized Thursday.

Conrad, a 31-year-old polar bear, had an untreatable liver tumor that zoo veterinarians determined was compromising his quality of life.

The tumor was discovered in May. Surgery was ruled out due to his advanced age and the risks and possible complications, according to zoo officials.

Zoo keepers and veterinarians said they focused on keeping Conrad comfortable, but his health continued to decline. 

"Yesterday, Conrad made it clear that our efforts were no longer working," Tim Storms, the zoo's lead veterinarian, said in a statement.

Conrad was the oldest male polar bear in a zoo or aquarium in North America. The median life expectancy for polar bears is 20.7 years for males and 24.1 years for females.

Conrad and his twin sister, Tasul, were born Dec. 1, 1984, at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina. They arrived in Portland on Jan. 31, 1986.

While the pair had a strong long-term relationship, polar bears are solitary by nature, and keepers expect Tasul will adjust well to her brother’s absence.

For the past few years, Conrad had been dealing with age-related arthritis, which zoo staff treated with a regimen of pain-management medications combined with low-impact exercise. Keepers would toss barrels, balls and other toys into the polar bears’ pool to encourage him to swim.

“Conrad was one of the most impressive animals I have ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Nicole Nicassio-Hiskey, the zoo’s senior marine animal keeper. “I feel so lucky that I was able to have a relationship with him. He really was an important part of our team. He will be missed so much.”

Conrad and Tasul have both been involved in research about how climate change is affecting the diets of wild polar bears.

Zoo officials said anyone who wants to honor Conrad and his contributions to polar bear conservation may make a gift in his memory to the Oregon Zoo Foundation’s annual fund or become a Wildlife Partner.

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