Ranger, a 25-year-old black bear at the Los Angeles Zoo, was euthanized after suffering from declining health and decreased quality of life, the zoo announced Thursday.

“This is truly a deep loss for our zoo community,” said Los Angeles Zoo Director and CEO Denise M. Verret. “Since his arrival at our zoo, Ranger’s presence helped connect millions of Angelenos to the type of wildlife that exists around us, which is crucial to building empathy, so we may peacefully coexist with one another. Ranger’s impact on our zoo and Los Angeles will never be forgotten, and he will be sorely missed.”

Ranger was brought to the zoo in 1997 after being rescued as an orphaned cub in Minnesota, according to the zoo. A family initially took him in before surrendering him to Minnesota’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. The zoo said Ranger couldn’t be re-introduced to the wild because he had grown accustomed to human interaction.

The zoo’s director of animal programs, Beth Schaefer, said that Ranger “touched the lives” of everyone who worked with him.

“Part of the reason why zoos exist is to help create a strong connection to the wildlife that lives around us, and Ranger was the best ambassador for his species in that way,” Schaefer said. “When you would walk around Tiger Plaza, it was impossible to not see groups of people of all ages stopping to observe Ranger basking in the warm sun, eating berries or just lounging in his habitat. The L.A. Zoo will not be the same without him.”

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