Local News

20-year-old bear at Durham museum dies

Posted October 18, 2011 1:06 p.m. EDT
Updated October 19, 2011 8:27 a.m. EDT

— A bear that lived at the Durham Museum of Life and Science for almost 20 years has been euthanized because of lameness in her hind legs.

Ursula was euthanized Tuesday, several days after her back legs gave out. The museum's consulting veterinarian said she and other medical experts believe Ursula suffered from degenerative joint disease.

On July 8, Ursula was moved from the museum's public exhibition and placed on restricted activity. She was prescribed both anti-inflammatory and pain medications.

She returned to the exhibit Oct. 3, but her back legs gave out Thursday.

"Without the use of her back legs, the decision to euthanize Ursula, while heartbreaking, became clear," Sherry Samuels, the museum's animal department director said.

Ursula was about 9 months old when she arrived at the museum in October 1991. Wildlife officials had confiscated her from someone who kept her illegally.

Caretakers described Ursula as a silly and playful youngster, who grew into a cranky adult and later, as a senior, turned into a sweet and amusing old girl.

"She will be missed. She will be missed by many," Samuels said.