The Buttonwood Park Zoo announced in a press release the passing of one of its most iconic animals - a 21-year old black bear named Amy. According to BPZOO, Amy was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in November of 2019, veterinary staff had been managing her condition with medical therapy and a specialized diet. Over the last week staff became increasingly concerned when she stopped eating and it became apparent that she was no longer responding to treatment. The Zoo’s care team made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her.

A necropsy was performed and confirmed chronic, end-stage kidney disease.

“One of the most challenging parts of working in a Zoo is the end of life decisions we need to make with our animals,” said BPZOO Director, Keith Lovett. “We approach many aspects of these decisions on a scientific level, but at the end of the day we have strong emotional connections with these animals and having to say goodbye is incredibly difficult.”

According to the press release, Amy is one of three black bears that came to live at BPZOO in 2000. After being orphaned in West Virginia, she was sent to the Staten Island Zoo in New York, before finding a home here in New Bedford with fellow black bears, Ursula and Toby.

Amy’s long-time keepers remember a sweet, gentle bear. She was often referred to as their “little princess” because of her daintiness. Amy was smaller than Ursula and Toby; quieter and on the shyer side.

Kristy Kaeterle, BPZOO’s Senior Zoo Keeper, remembers Amy’s gentleness. “She would gently take her favorite treats - like blackberries, jelly, and honey - even in the fall when the bears are extra hungry. And when she painted, she would make the most perfect little paw prints.”

She also remembers her as calm and peaceful, often finding her curled up with one of the other bears in the morning - the little princess with a calm and peaceful spirit.

Visiting the bears with my nephews was one of my favorite parts of Buttonwood Park Zoo. I couldn't tell you which bear was Amy just by looking at them, but I will certainly miss seeing the "three little bears" in their enclosure. Rest in peace, little princess.

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