BALTIMORE (AP) - The Maryland Zoo says a female polar bear that arrived at the facility after being abandoned by a circus in Puerto Rico and became a visitor favorite despite being deaf has died.
Officials say Alaska was euthanized Tuesday morning after her quality of life declined for weeks. She had been suffering from kidney failure. A necropsy will be performed.
Alaska arrived at the Maryland Zoo in 2002 after being confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Puerto Rico.
Zookeepers say they noticed Alaska didn't react to their voices or other noises. Veterinarians determined that she was deaf, and a training program was developed using hand signals and other visual cues to work with her.
The Maryland Zoo has two polar bears on exhibit, male Magnet and female Anoki.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)