Racine Zoo mourns the loss of 31-year-old Andean bear

Photos courtesy of Racine Zoo

RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Racine Zoo is mourning the loss of Diamond, their beloved Andean bear. 

The zoo says Diamond was humanely euthanized at the age of 31 due to complications from cancer. 

In a post shared on social media, the Racine Zoo called Diamond a dear member of their family who was an "expert at any puzzle feeder" his keepers gave him, figuring them out in less than a minute. They say he had a great love of food and was affectionately nicknamed the "garbage disposal." 

Diamond survived skin cancer, laser treatment and therapy twice in the past two years and was a "symbol of strength and perseverance." The zoo says the bond between Diamond and his keepers grew even stronger during these tough times. 

His keepers say they'll miss "how he ate peanut butter sandwiches in prayer position, that he always slept with one leg straight in the air and that when you would ask him to target to your hand, he would kiss it every time."

Andean bears in the wild only live to be about 20, according to staff, but Diamond lived to be 31-and-a-half years old, making him the third oldest Andean bear in North American zoos.

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