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Polar bear euthanized at the Milwaukee County Zoo

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Wilhelm the polar bear

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The Milwaukee County Zoo announced that its male polar bear, Wilhelm, was euthanized on Tuesday morning, October 22nd. He was 28 years old.

In a statement released by zoo officials, Curator of Large Mammals Tim Wild said, “Over the past couple of days, ‘Willie’ was not eating and could not stand…Our veterinary staff did an exam on Willie and  found fluid in his abdomen.”

A complete necropsy (animal autopsy) will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.

Willie arrived here in 2011 from the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, where his exhibit was undergoing a major renovation.  He was here for a temporary stay until the exhibit was completed.

Willie was a captive-born bear who lived at the North Carolina Zoo since 2002.  During his years at the North Carolina Zoo, he became a visitor favorite – even attracting a regular crowd of Asheboro High School “Zoo School” students who visited Willie daily.

The Zoo’s female polar bear, Snow Lilly, remains at the Zoo on public exhibit.

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