ASHEBORO, N.C. — A black bear at the North Carolina Zoo has died, according to a news release.
Holly, who lived at the zoo for 24 years, was humanely euthanized Wednesday at an estimated 28 years old.
Holly first came to the zoo on Feb. 13, 1995 alongside fellow black bear Yanu after they were both confiscated from an unaccredited roadside zoo the previous year in Cherokee County.
Zoo officials believe she was born in the wild.
Yanu passed away in 2017.
When Holly was diagnosed with oral neoplasia, which the zoo described as an abnormal cancerous growth, the zoo saw her quality of life quickly deteriorate.
Holly had a clean bill of health during an exam in April, so caretakers and veterinarians were caught off guard when the growth suddenly appeared, and at a surprising size.
Black bears are an iconic North Carolina animal and an important part of the state’s history and cultural heritage.