A polar bear who gave birth to one of the North Carolina Zoo’s most popular animals has died.
Aurora, 28, was euthanized on Monday because of severe liver disease, officials at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, N.Y., announced on Wednesday. She was the lone polar bear at the zoo.
In 1999, Aurora gave birth to twins Lee and Anana.
Anana, whose birth name was Sila, was moved to Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo in 2001 and then to the North Carolina Zoo in September 2014. Her name means “beautiful” in Inuit. Her sibling, whose birth name was Qilak, now lives in Denver, Colo.
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In March 2016, the North Carolina Zoo welcomed a male polar bear, Nikita, as a mate for Anana.
Polar bears are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972. In 2008, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service listed the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, according to the U.S. State Department. The most significant threat to their long-term survival is habitat loss due to climate change, State Department officials said.
Polar bears live 15 to 18 years in the wild and 25 to 30 years in captivity.
In Rochester, Aurora gave birth to three other cubs, one of which died shortly after his birth.
Aurora was known for her calm, good-natured personality and loved spending time with her keepers every day, according to the zoo’s website.