Grizzly-Brown Bears

Boomer, one of the Houston Zoo’s two elderly grizzly bears, was humanely euthanized today after a long life. The decision was made by the bear’s keepers and veterinary team after the nearly 40-year-old bear began to become uninterested in food, less active, and less responsive to his pain medications. After reviewing all options, our veterinary and bear experts decided that the most humane option was to peacefully euthanize him.

The geriatric bear came to the zoo with another grizzly bear, Bailey, in 2007 from the Houston SPCA where they had lived for a year after the organization confiscated them from a private individual who was not taking good care of them. The pair had lived in tiny cages and were found to be in very poor health, with severe dental disease, and obesity from lack of exercise. Since moving to the Houston Zoo, Boomer underwent extensive dental care including five root canals and seven tooth extractions performed by veterinary dental specialist Dr. Bob Boyd. Boomer was diagnosed with lymphoma in both eyes in 2010 by a veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Nick Millichamp and underwent oral chemotherapy later that year. His right eye was removed 2012 when it became ulcerated and painful. The lymphoma in the left eye caused complete blindness but Boomer was able to navigate his enclosure well.  In recent years, Boomer began receiving treatment for chronic arthritis and a non-resolving infection that unfortunately had become debilitating, regardless of medication and care. Boomer was beloved by the zoo staff, who have fond memories of his love for his pool.

Whenever an animal dies, no matter what the reason, it is a tragic event and our staff morns the loss of a member of their family. The health and wellness of our animals is a great priority to our team and with four incredible veterinarians and a complete veterinary clinic and world-class animal keepers, our animals receive the best care possible.  While it’s always exciting to celebrate births at the zoo, we also mourn heavily when one of our animals dies.

9 Responses to “Boomer, Beloved Grizzly Bear, Passes Peacefully”

  1. Liz Moreno says:

    I’m so sorry about Boomers death. I hope *Bailey and the zoo staff continue to live honor Boomer.

  2. Deborah Clark says:

    Poor Boomer! I know you guys did your best to right the tough things he had been through and to give him better quality of life. I hope private individuals become more educated so that fewer animals have to go through the hardships Boomer did before he was with you. It’s hard to say goodbye. And there’s no real way around that as far as I am concerned. Just keep loving and trying to do the best for animals and educating people to do the same.

  3. Alex says:

    Oh no, how is Bailey?!

  4. Jennifer Kraai says:

    So sorry to hear about Boomers passing keeping Bailey and the zoo staff in my prayers. Some of my best days are spent walking around the zoo and visiting all of the animals.

  5. Michelle says:

    Sadden to see the news about Boomer. I love visiting Boomer’s and Bailey’s area. The best day was a year or so back. My son and I got caught in a rain storm and decided to wait it out in the grizzly bear area. Boomer and Bailey had never been so lively, playing in the rain. They really seemed to have a good time getting wet, lol.

    I hope Bailey is doing alright without her pal.

  6. Melissa says:

    So sad to hear of his passing. His exhibit is one of the few where i can just stand there for several minutes and see him refresh himself in his little lake. Very peaceful . 🙁

  7. Chuck902 says:

    Very sad News, It’s always sad to hear about another Zoo family member passing. Even though you are in a better place , you will be missed. R.I.P. Boomer.

  8. Sandy Tietjen says:

    So very sorry to hear this. I was just recently at the zoo and visited the grizzly home. My heart goes out to the zoo staff and of course Bailey. Bailey will miss his friend. I know the staff will take good care of Bailey. RIP Boomer.

  9. im so very sorry to hear of Boomer’s passing. The two grizzly have been a personal favorite of my every time I go to the zoo. He will be missed by my girlfriend an I as well as countless others who enjoyed seeing him. My most sincere condolences to the Houston Zoo.

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