It isn't often that zoo animals can garner a following or become celebrities. Needless to say, Gus the polar bear wasn't the average zoo animal.
The longtime Central Park Zoo staple was known for his neuroticism that included swimming obsessively around his habitat. This behavior lead to the zoo bringing in professional help for him. His odd ways made him endearing to fans of the zoo and soon he became one of its main attractions. Fans found it fascinating that such a large animal could swim in the same pattern for up to 12 hours a day in a kind of ritual.
Unfortunately, Gus died yesterday at the age of 27, leaving a polar bear sized hole in the hearts of New York zoo goers. He lived to be 27, which is far past the expected lifespan of around 20. Although he had two female companions in his time at the zoo, both of which died before him, he leaves behind no offspring. The only bear left in the New York area is now located at the Bronx Zoo.
It is a longstanding joke that New Yorkers can relate to crazy, and Gus was no exception. Think of him as the Woody Allen of the polar bear world; he was strange, a little off center, and did things a little differently, and the people loved him for it.[Image via HumanJukebox1958 on YouTube]