National Zoo's Andean Bear Cisco Dies During Emergency Exam

WASHINGTON — Cisco, a 23-year-old male Andean bear, died during an emergency veterinary exam Monday morning, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo announced in a news release.

The bear had shown symptoms of declining health in the past week, according to the release, which pushed a scheduled exam for later in the week to Monday morning.

Veterinarians performed an emergency procedure to help improve the bear’s breathing after an ultrasound revealed fluid in the lungs, but Cisco went into cardiopulmonary arrest. The medical team decided not resuscitate the bear and, according to the release, they “let him humanely pass pain-free and quietly.”

Cisco arrived at the National Zoo in September 2013, on loan from the Queens Zoo in New York. He has two male offspring, Mayni and Muniri, born in November 2014 that are now at Nashville Zoo.

As South America’s only bears, Andean bears are considered vulnerable, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. Habitat loss is one of the major threats to the declining population in South America.

According to the National Zoo, the life span of this bear species in the wild is not known, but among human care, Andean bears can live around 20 years.

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