BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park delivered sad news Thursday.
Chica, a 28-year-old Andean Bear, died. Members of the zoo said after monitoring Chica's health for age-related decline and quality of life, the difficult decision was made to euthanize her earlier this week.
"She's been showing increasing declining health issues, she's not eating, she wasn't eating as much, and that had filtered down to pretty much not eating much of anything," said Jackie Peeler, Director of the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park. "So we knew that she was getting near the end."
At 28 years old, Chica was one of the oldest living Andean bears in the U.S. population. Andean bears have a life expectancy of 20 to 25 years in the wild.
"It was a challenging decision for everyone to make here, but she was older, she's 28 years old," said Peeler. "She'd actually come here in June of 2010, so she's been here for a number of years and is one of the visitor's and a staff favorite."
Chica had been a part of the Binghamton Zoo family after coming from Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo. She was there under the Species Survival Plan.
Her death was hard on the zookeepers who had been taking care of her since she first arrived in Binghamton.
"Especially when it's an older animal, you know that this in an inevitable outcome for the circumstances," said Peeler. "There wasn't a dry eye up there, however. Even though you know it's going to happen, it's still very hard on the staff that's taking care of an animal."
Members of the staff said she will be remembered for her incredible intelligence and sassy personality.
Chica's body has been sent to Cornell where a necropsy is being performed to see exactly what caused her decline in health as well as for veterinary research.