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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo says goodbye to beloved bear - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo says goodbye to beloved bear

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has a very heavy heart after the passing of Rosie, the 28-year old Andean bear. Rosie made the zoo her home for seven years, and had a strong impact on guests and staff.

The Zoo says there are only four other Andean bears in North America that have survived to that age, needless to say Rosie lived a good life. The zoo staff says they started to notice changes in the bear on Thanksgiving Day, where she was evaluated.

Veterinarians found unfortunate signs of declining health in poor Rosie, including results that strongly suggested cancer. No means of treatment worked for the sick bear, no matter what the zoo staff did she would not eat.

The difficult decision had to be made to euthanize her Monday morning.

"It's no secret that the Zoo's bear grottos are not the fanciest or most modern exhibits," said Michelle Salido, one of Rosie's animal keepers. "They're functional and comfortable for our bears, but they're not the type of exhibit that draws people in. But that was what made Rosie so special - she had the ability to capture our hearts, despite her modest surroundings."

Zoo visitors say the first things most people noticed about Rosie was her sweet face and small stature. 

"Rosie was very small for an adult Andean bear," said Joanna Husby, animal care manager. "But, even though Osito was about twice her size, she had vocalizations that would put him in his place. She was definitely the boss! When she would 'yell' at him, she sounded like a baby dinosaur."

Osito passed away in June 2016. 

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was the first to start supporting wild Andean bears when they weer chosen as Quarters for Conservation benefited species in 2008 and 2009. The zoo originally partnered with the Andean Bear Foundation in 2009. 

The zoo says these are the types of connections made between animals and members and staff that make a real difference for species in the wild. 

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