The North Carolina Zoo's popular polar bear, Patches, died on Sunday.
In recent weeks, Patches had become uninterested in food, and was lethargic, according to Ken Reininger, the zoo’s general curator. Tests revealed the female bear had an extensive lung mass which was likely cancer.
“In the wild the average life span of a polar bear is 15-to-18 years old,” said Dr. David Jones, director of the zoo. “Patches was 26-years-old. She exceeded wildlife expectations by living a long life.”