‘Honey’ put to sleep at Bear Center at age 20

by Tom Coombe

Honey, one of the ambassador bears viewed by thousands since the opening of Ely’s North American Bear Center, was euthanized earlier this week.
The bear known for its brown coat and unique personality died Wednesday at age 20, according to a post on the museum’s web site.
According to NABC founder and noted bear researcher Lynn Rogers, the bear had fallen into poor health and museum officials made a “humane” decision after consultation with a veterinarian with much experience with bears.
“It was a day of tears and a hard decision that everyone involved could see had to be done for Honey,” Rogers said. “In the end, it wasn’t a decision, it was a need. But that didn’t erase the sorrow especially for those who had raised her or cared for her for years.”
Website reports tracked the aging bear’s failing health, and by Wednesday she was “deteriorating fast,” according to Rogers.
“When we got her tranquilized, I sniffed where she was lying,” Rogers wrote online. “No smell of urine. When urination stops, life stops within a few days.”
Bears such as Honey and others at the NABC have forged a bond with thousands of fans across the world, a relationship built by the bear museum’s website and social media presence.
Over the last several years, events associated with the NABC including the births of cubs captured by den cams and tracked online have attracted worldwide media attention.
Rogers called Honey “an important member of the Ambassador Bear team.”
“Ted, Lucky, and Holly all have their distinct roles in the social dynamics at the Bear Center, and so did Honey,” said Rogers. “She had a good life. She helped educate about bears. She is loved by many and will not be forgotten.
According to the website, NABC staff is making preparations for her burial on the property.