Bert was humanely euthanized on March 3 at age 25. Over the last month, he had shown increasingly limited mobility and was under medical care. An exam by the Zoo’s veterinary staff indicated Bert’s condition wasn’t going to improve.
Bert’s brother, Ernie, died on July 7, 2011, at age 21. In 1990, their mother was shot by a state wildlife agent because she was raiding suburban homes near Anchorage. The cubs were taken to the Anchorage Zoo, but they soon outgrew their temporary housing. The Saint Louis Zoo offered them a new home.
In a news release, Steve Bircher, curator of mammals/carnivores at the Saint Louis Zoo, said, “The cubs were instant favorites at the Saint Louis Zoo before they even arrived. 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.”