Grand Rapids, Michigan – This week, the John Ball Zoo announced the passing of a beloved brown bear named Yogi. In a public release, the zoo said:
It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Yogi, the male Brown Bear. He was a wild born bear who came to the Zoo in 1994 from Yellowstone National Park.
According to the zoo, Yogi came to them because of “repeated human area conflict,” and if a workable solution had not been found, he would have been euthanized.
Yogi suffered from age-related arthritis, which was treated with pain medications. But with the passage of time, he began “experiencing severe mobility issues.” Recently, the pain left Yogi immobilized and it was clear that his discomfort could no longer be managed.
Zoo staff knew Yogi as a “gentle giant.” One of his keepers said that Yogi was a joy to work with, sharing a special memory:
“Yogi’s favorite day of the week was bone day. He would pass up his dinner and any sweet snack we had for him, and he would be busy chewing until all the meat was gone.”
To honor Yogi, the zoo his holding a teddy bear drive from October 5 through the 19th. Animal care supervisor, Jaime, said:
“With such a large impact on our community, and especially on his animal care team, I really wanted to find a meaningful way to celebrate such a special bear.”
“A “Teddy Bear” drive would be the perfect way to remember him and provide for kids who need a buddy! Please help us gather a small army of Yogi bears over the next two weeks to bring to the kids at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital.”
Details: Drop off location: John Ball Zoo Guest Services office, 10am – 4pm, daily. Requirements: All stuffed animal donations must be new with tags still attached. All donation will be provided to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
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