Beloved brown bear from the Brookfield Zoo dies at age 27

When Brittany Fitzsimmons was 6 many years aged, her good-uncle “gave” her a brown bear for Xmas.

As a result of the Chicago Zoological Society’s Animal Adoption donation plan, Fitzsimmons in 1995 turned the “parent” of a brown bear named Jim, and each individual yr, her terrific-uncle renewed that donation for the bear’s treatment in her title. Every single Christmas, Fitzsimmons appeared ahead to viewing new photos of Jim as well as letters about the bear’s expansion and what he’s been up to. In the summer months, she’d check out the Brookfield Zoo to test in on Jim and check out to notify him aside from his brother, Axhi.

“It seemed like Jim was donning a T-shirt,” she explained.

The 33-calendar year-aged from Glendale Heights most recently visited Jim at the zoo this thirty day period. But she did not realize it would be her very last.

The Chicago Zoological Modern society, which operates Brookfield Zoo, introduced Jim’s demise Wednesday. He was 27. In the latest months, the bear experienced experienced lowered mobility to intense arthritis, which progressed to the stage that veterinary employees couldn’t assure excellent of lifestyle, CZS claimed in a assertion. Staff euthanized the bear Tuesday thanks to his declining dying.

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“As an easygoing light huge, Jim was surely was just one of the staff’s favorites,” mentioned Mark Wanner, curator of mammals for CZS, in a statement. “Jim was quite keen to try new food stuff things and appeared to thoroughly love his enrichment. On top of that, he voluntarily participated in his have health care through husbandry coaching sessions with animal care employees. This has been an exceptionally tough time for those who cared for him and he will be drastically skipped.”

Jim and his brother, Axhi, arrived at the Brookfield Zoo in 1995 at 6 months old, rescued from southeastern Alaska soon after a hunter killed their mother. Jim’s comprehensive identify was Kootznoowoo-Jim, immediately after some of the individuals who aided rescue the two cubs. According to CZS, Kootznoowoo is a word from the Tlingit men and women of Admiralty Island which suggests “fortress of the bear,” and Jim was an animal treatment staff member who cared for the cubs when he labored at the Brookfield Zoo’s mammal office.

The final time Fitzsimmons saw Jim she was with her boyfriend. With each other, they viewed Jim and Axhi as they had been fed, gnawing on cabbage and meat. They spent 15 minutes just seeing them as she gushed about the bear and all she realized about him, Fitzsimmons claimed.

“It was just really neat to know that he was kind of, kind of mine,” she mentioned. “You know, not seriously mine, but even now an remarkable rationale to go to the zoo.”

Website visitors to the zoo acquired about conservation attempts for brown bears as a result of Jim, who was a supporter-beloved amongst friends of the zoo’s particular occasions, CZS reported. He was usually photographed, most lately in the Chicago Bears’ blue and orange to mark the commence of the football year.

On social media, opinions poured in with reminiscences and images of Jim from zoo-goers and volunteers.

“I cherished fundamentally escalating up with you two and looking at you turn out to be not only enthusiast favorites, but an wonderful case in point of how certainly majestic bears can be,” 1 commenter mentioned.