New York – June 3, 2011 – The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo is saddened to report that its beloved polar bear, Ida, died today at an advanced age. At 25 years old, Ida was an older bear. Polar bears live in the wild an average of 18 years.

She was euthanized this morning by WCS veterinarians after determining she had liver disease brought on by cancer. Central Park Zoo keepers were given an opportunity to share quiet time with her before the procedure.

Ida was born in the Buffalo Zoo in 1985. She came to the Central Park Zoo at the age of 2 in 1987. For the past 24 years, she has lived with her male companion, Gus. Ida and Gus, seen by millions of guests through the years, were often photographed cuddling. Ida has been featured in tourism guides worldwide and has been celebrated in hundreds of news articles. In 2006, television celebrity Rachael Ray prepared Ida and Gus tilapia on a block of ice.

Ida was loved by her keepers and the public. She often played with bear-friendly toys, including buckets and balls. She regularly gathered her favorite toys and kept them nearby as she slept. “Ida was a great ambassador for all polar bears," said Jeff Sailer, director of City Zoos.

“She was truly a wonderful animal and will be missed every day by our staff and guests. Millions have visited Ida through the years and have been inspired to care more about the plight of polar bears in the wild. No one could visit Ida without leaving more connected to the wonders of our planet.”

Sophie Bass: 212-439-6527; 817-925-8888;
Max Pulsinelli: 571-218-7601;
Mary Dixon: 347-840-1242;

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo - The zoo is located at Fifth Avenue and 64th Street. For further information, please call 212-439-6500 or visit