Date: 21 Apr 2010
Belfast Zoo is sad to announce the recent death of female Andean bear Minky. She was 21 years old.
Belfast Zoo vet, Michael Griffith, had been closely monitoring Minky`s health in the weeks preceding her death.
Michael said: "As one of the oldest Andean bears in European zoos, her recent ill-health was not unexpected, and the zoo team worked hard to ensure her last weeks were made as comfortable as possible for her. A combination of old age and a malignant tumour were responsible for her death."
Minky was born in Cologne Zoo, Germany in January 1989, and arrived in Belfast Zoo in September 1990. She was paired with the male Omero, born in Zurich Zoo, and they produced four litters of cubs.
Their male cub, Spook, born in Belfast Zoo in July 1994, remains in the zoo with his father Omero. They enjoy their recently refurbished enclosure, where they can be seen lounging around on their new high climbing frames and platforms.
Curator Andrew Hope remembers Minky with fondness.
"She had a gentle and trusting personality, and she particularly enjoyed events like Spook`s birthday and Christmas when the bears got special treats in wrapped boxes," he said.
Zoo manager Mark Challis said: "Andean bears are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, and are kept in Belfast Zoo as part of a global collaborative zoo breeding programme. Since her arrival here in 1990, over four million visitors to the zoo have had the special opportunity to see Minky, and she was a well-loved member of the animal family here at Belfast Zoo."