Oklahoma City Zoo announces passing of beloved black bear

OKLAHOMA CITY – Zoo keepers at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden are mourning the loss of a beloved animal.

Sammy, a black bear who has been a staple of the Oklahoma Trails habitat, had to be euthanized on Sunday.

Zoo officials say Sammy had been receiving treatments for arthritis since 2014. In March, the veterinary team realized that Sammy’s arthritis was worsening in his toes, wrists and elbows. His spine was also showing some degeneration as well.

On Friday, zoo keepers noticed that Sammy was showing signs of pain and weakness, was not eating and was having difficulty walking.

“The OKC Zoo is sad to report the passing of black bear Sammy. He was euthanized Sunday, August 5, after ongoing efforts to treat his arthritis were exhausted and his pain could no longer be managed. Sammy came to the Zoo in 2007 and was among the first animals in the Oklahoma Trails habitat,” a post on the zoo’s Facebook read.

In 2007, Sammy came to the zoo when he was 7-years-old from a private donor.  Officials say his front claws had been removed and he was severely overweight due to poor nutrition.

Zoo keepers say Sammy was relatively young for a black bear, but the de-clawing and added weight took a significant toll on his joints.