Mercedes: 30 Year Old Scottish Polar Bear
Mercedes, an aging polar bear with her home in the Scottish Highlands, has fallen seriously ill and may have to be put down.
For more than a quarter of a century Mercedes was kept alone in a cramped enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo and just 18 months ago she was moved to the wide-open, bear-friendly spaces of the Highland Wildlife Park near Inverness.
Very recently her years of solitude ended when she was joined by a two year old male bear called Walker who is scheduled to be part of a future breeding program but not, it seems, with 30-year-old, half ton Mercedes who has been diagnosed with incurable arthritis. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has warned it may be kinder to put her to sleep if her health does not improve.
Mercedes has already exceeded the normal lifespan for a polar bear and is surely now one of the world’s oldest bears. It was hoped her new surroundings – rocks, trees, and hills which better reflect her native habitat – would revitalize her to live out a long, graceful old age.
Vet Simon Girling told the Daily Mail: “We’re managing her condition with pain relief and we’re currently trying her on some new medication. If Mercedes’ deteriorates further in the future and begins to suffer, it is probable that, with sadness, we will have to consider humane euthanasia. However, we are not at that stage yet.”
Mercedes was tagged to be shot as a cub as she raided towns in search of food in her native Canada. She was named after the German car firm that sponsored her when she first came to Scotland in 1984 and become a huge favorite with visitors.
Her home in the Highlands promised a much better quality of life in line with modern expectations, Walker was touted as a fresh boy-toy partner to add spice to the autumn of her life, but now it seems that Mercedes may finally be approaching the end of the road.
Edinburgh Zoo has signed a deal with China to bring a pair of Giant Pandas to Scotland. Tian Tian and Yangguang, a breeding pair born in 2003, will occupy a specially created enclosure in the capital city. They are expected to arrive later this year.
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