Polar bear meant to serve as mentor for Columbus-born Nora has died

Tasul, one of the world's oldest polar bears, died November 18, 2016 just weeks shy of her 32nd birthday. (Oregon Zoo courtesy photo, undated)

PORTLAND, OR (KOIN) — The Oregon Zoo is mourning the death of one of its polar bears, who was euthanized on November 18.

Tasul, a 31-year-old polar bear, was the third-oldest polar bear in any North American zoo or aquarium, the zoo said. According to the zoo, polar bears rarely live past 18 in the wild.

Zoo veterinarians found a mass on Tasul’s ovary during an ultrasound and discovered it was cancerous. The cancer had spread extensively and staff decided to euthanize to prevent her from suffering.

Tasul had been at the Oregon Zoo since 1986, where she lived for many years with Conrad, who was euthanized earlier this year due to a liver tumor.

Zookeepers said Tasul was known for her strong bonds with keepers

The elderly bear was going to be a mentor to Nora, a young polar bear who was raised by zookeepers in Ohio and recently arrived at the Oregon Zoo.

Officials are working with Species Survival Plan to figure out what is best for Nora, because it’s important for her to have a mentor bear.

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