FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2015
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher 314/646-4633
Christy Childs, 314/646-4639
Joanna Hoeltge, 314/646-4703
LONG-TIME FAVORITE GRIZZLY BEAR BERT DIES AT SAINT LOUIS ZOO
Brothers Bert and Ernie were rescued in Alaska 24 years ago
The second of two beloved grizzly bear brothers rescued from Alaska by the Saint Louis Zoo in 1991 has died. "Bert" was humanely euthanized on March 3 – at age 25 after being affected by age-related problems that limited his mobility. His brother, "Ernie", died on July 7, 2011, at age 21.
Over the last month, Bert had shown increasingly limited mobility and was under medical management. An exam performed by the Saint Louis Zoo's veterinary staff indicated irreversible problems for Bert.
From the time they were orphaned in Alaska and adopted by the Saint Louis Zoo in 1991, Bert and Ernie were favorites. The previous year, their mother had been shot by a state wildlife agent because she was raiding suburban homes near Anchorage. Her two cubs had been taken to the Anchorage Zoo, but they soon outgrew their temporary housing.
News agencies around the world spread the news that the cubs would be destroyed unless a home for them could be found. It was then that the Saint Louis Zoo offered them a new home.
"The cubs were instant favorites at the Saint Louis Zoo before they even arrived," said Steve Bircher, curator of mammals/carnivores at the Zoo. "Visitors, staff and volunteers alike have taken them into their hearts through the years. We are saddened by the loss of Bert, who has been a great bear for many years. He lived and died with dignity."