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RACINE – The Racine Zoo announces the passing of Nora, its female Andean bear. She had been a popular attraction at the zoo since her arrival in 2016.

An aggressive mouth cancer was discovered in Nora leading to pain and difficulty eating, the zoo reported in a news release. After consulting with Andean bear experts and veterinary oncologists, it was concluded that surgery and chemical therapies were not options for Nora, and the decision was made for humane euthanasia on Aug. 15. With a life expectancy of only 20 years in the wild, Nora far exceeded expectations, living to 28 years of age.

“Born at Lincoln Park Zoo on January 24, 1992, Nora made connections with guests across the country. Moving to Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Ohio before moving to the Racine Zoo to retire in 2016, Nora made fans and friends wherever she went. In her four years at the Racine Zoo, guests reached out constantly and would make the journey from around the country to visit her again. Her gentle nature and charismatic personality inspired lifelong connections with guests and keepers alike,” the release stated.

“When she came to the Racine Zoo, Nora quickly became a keeper favorite. With her sweet disposition, funny yoga positions while sleeping, and her total and complete love for grape jelly, it was hard not to love her. You could often find Nora lounging on the big tire bed enjoying the sunshine, building a nest in the cave, or roaming the exhibit checking out the smells. Keepers always noted how into scents she was, often lining her bed with perfumed items.”

The Racine Zoo reports that Andean bears, like Nora, have decreased in population from about 20,000 in the wild in the late 1990s to only about 10,000 today. Andean bear populations continue to decline.

The Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St., is open daily from 10 4 p.m. Social distancing is required. Visit


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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...