The Columbus Zoo says failure of black bear Joan’s hind legs forced the decision to euthanize

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced Friday that it had to euthanize Joan the black bear because she could no longer use her back legs and surgery was not an option.

The 8-year-old bear has been at the Columbus Zoo since 2016.

“The entire North American team is deeply saddened by the loss of Joan, who left an indelible mark on the region and in our hearts,” he added. The zoo said on its Facebook page. “She will be greatly missed, and her memory will live forever in the collective spirit of all who knew and cared for her.”

“Joanie,” as her caretakers called her, was welcomed into the Columbus Zoo after Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks decided she “could not be released,” according to the zoo’s Facebook announcement.

Throughout her time there, Joan captured the hearts of visitors and caretakers alike with her intelligence and “unique personality” that kept her caretakers on their toes, the zoo said.

“From her graceful little days to becoming a true rock star in training, Joan has had a special place in our hearts,” the zoo said on its Facebook page.

Joan was interested in people and treats, but willingly participated in her own medical care, “endearing her to her favorite keeper and trusted veterinarian,” the zoo said.

About two weeks ago, Joan became unable to walk with her back legs. Because of her size, Joan was unable to undergo spinal surgery to repair her legs. So her caregivers monitored her to see if there was any sign of improvement. After not seeing any, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her.

Black bears can be found throughout North America and are known for their climbing and swimming abilities. According to the zoo, they come in a variety of colors, including brown, blue, black and grey. The blackleg is usually active from spring to fall, and hibernates during the winter months.

@WatchMegan

smeighan@dispatch.com

This article originally appeared on the Columbus Dispatch: Columbus Zoo announces black bear Johnny’s death

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