Reid Park Zoo Says Goodbye to Elderly Andean Bear Worf

Reid Park Zoo’s beloved male Andean bear, Worf, was euthanized on Wednesday, September 23 due to a decline in quality of life with significant loss in mobility and pain due to age-related arthritis.

Worf was an elderly bear at 27 years old. He had previously received treatment for cancer in his paw, and was in full remission. However, the arthritis he experienced in his hips and front legs could not be cured, rather only managed with pain medications.

“Our animal care staff and veterinary team did an amazing job managing Worf’s health,” said Sue Tygielski, Director of Zoo Operations. “The team worked together to monitor the effects of his pain medication, that it was providing relief without making him sleepy or groggy. However, arthritis is progressive and ultimately impacted Worf’s ability to move through his habitat safely.”

Worf was a Zoo favorite, who won the hearts of guests with the hours spent in his pool playing with toys and cooling off. He loved bananas, watermelon, figs, bamboo, and umbrella grass. Animal care staff would hide these favored treats around his habitat so he had a daily treasure hunt.

Worf leaves behind his companion, a much younger female Andean bear named Oja, age 6. The care team is deeply saddened by the loss of Worf, and will keep a close eye on Oja’s behavior following the loss of her companion.

Reid Park Zoo participates in Andean bear field research with the University of Arizona investigating what habitat bears in the wild utilize. Andean bears are a vulnerable species due to habitat loss. Our thoughtful use of forest products by reducing, recycling, reusing and refusing can reduce impacts on their environment.