Snow Lilly, Milwaukee County Zoo polar bear, dies at 36

September 25, 2021 GMT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — North America’s oldest polar bear living in human care at the Milwaukee County Zoo has died, zoo officials said Saturday.

The Journal Sentinel reports 36-year-old Snow Lilly was euthanized Friday due to her declining health and subsequent quality of life concerns. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the median life expectancy for polar bears in human care is about 23 years.

A recent wellness exam found Snow Lilly had heart disease and was undergoing other age-related changes, the release said. Snow Lilly came to the Milwaukee County Zoo in 2005 from the Bronx Zoo.

“Snow Lilly was a visitor favorite at the Zoo and considered one of the iconic animals in the population,” said Zoo Director Amos Morris in a statement. “She will be sorely missed by both staff and visitors.”


In recent years, the zoo called on Snow Lilly to stand in for a groundhog and usher in spring at a Groundhog’s Day celebration in 2018. She also shared a birthday with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich.

A necropsy will be performed, as important information can continue to be collected from it and help other polar bears living in human care. Final necropsy results will be forthcoming in the upcoming months.