Still believe that animals don't feel emotion? This bear passed shortly after his best friend and lover was euthanized in a Massachusetts zoo.
Is it not interesting that many people still deny that animals feel a wide range of emotions? While readers of this article likely suspect – or know whole-heartedly – that the glimmer in a beloved pet’s eyes only hint at deeper at feelings not able to be conveyed through words, others dispute the idea that animals experience anything but basic primal instincts.
But what could explain the rapid deterioration of a bear named Goof’s health, after his mate and best friend was euthanized?
Their bond couldn’t have been any clearer, especially during Amy’s last few weeks.
Held at the Capron Park Zoo, the two sloth bears endured what is deemed to be ‘normal’ life in captivity. Living in confinement, Goof and Amy produced three cubs together, each of whom was taken away shortly after birth and set to live in facilities elsewhere.
At least they had each other – until last week.
After Amy exhibited signs of liver disease, a malady common to the sloth bear species, officials at the zoo decided to euthanize her. This move tragically left Goof on his own and living in solitude for the first time in 19 years.
Goof had been battling with the disease for a while, as well, but the sudden loss of Amy proved too much for him.
According to the bear’s keepers, they drastically underestimated how losing Amy would affect him.
“We expected him to be a little off because they had bonded and produced cubs,” veterinarian Lisa Abbo told the Sun Chronicle. “But over the weekend he took a serious turn for the worse.”
Four days after Amy was euthanized, Goof’s health deteriorated to the point at which the zoo decided to euthanize him as well. His days of languishing alone, at least, were put to an end.
A necropsy later concluded that the bear suffered from several age-related conditions, but his keepers acknowledge that something else played a role in his rapid decline of health.
“I feel like the stress of Goof losing Amy may have pushed him into showing his clinical signs much quicker,” Abbo told the Boston Globe.
Sloth bears, native to the forests of South Asia, can live up to 40 years in captivity – much longer than Amy and Goof, who were 25 and 27 years old, respectively. If this sad tale proves anything, it is that there is far more complexity and warmth to animals’ feelings than a passing glance through the cold bars of a zoo enclosure might suggest.
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