Polar Bear Boris Im Memoriam

Sep 7th, 2020 | By | Category: Featured articles

7.9.2020 – Source: Press release from the Tacoma Zoo, Washington on the 1st of September

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that our beloved elderly polar bear Boris was humanely euthanized this morning after a significant decline in his health.



At 34, Boris was likely the oldest male polar bear on the planet. He had far surpassed the median life expectancy of 23.4 years for male polar bears in human care (15-18 years in the wild). In late 2017, Boris became a medical pioneer when stem cells grown from his own fat tissue were used in an attempt to help treat his arthritis.



Rescued from a traveling circus 18 years ago, Boris found a stable and caring home in Tacoma, where he was loved and revered by our staff and community. Our experienced veterinary and animal care teams played a huge role in giving Boris a healthy and comfortable life, providing the geriatric polar bear with compassionate and attentive care every day. Boris was an amazing ambassador for his endangered species and will be deeply missed.


Molly wrote a nice article of Boris which was published in this magazine in 2018 (in English / auf Deutsch)

Boris, the last of the rescued circus polar bears

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  1. It’s always so sad when a polar bear dies, especially when it was one with a special history – from the bad to the good (for 18 years! – how wonderful!) – in this case BORIS was given a healthy and comfortable life for the majority of his last 18 years. And that is so good to know!

    Thanks to everyboy involved in this story in the ‘Tacoma Zoo’ who cared for a happy life to BORIS. For sure he also felt that he was loved. That’s always an important part of a happy polar bear life.

    Thanks also to MERVI for having brought this article and the impressive photos to us.

    R.I.P now, dear BORIS!

  2. Habs fein bei den anderen oben,guter Boris.


  3. The VIDEO of the ‘Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, TACOMA’
    which I discovered only later shows clearly what a beautiful and huge male polar bear BORIS was.

    It’s very easy to understand that he (and his story) ‘touched hearts’ and is ‘deeply missed’!

    Once more: Thank you!

  4. How wonderful that he and the others were rescued from a terrible life in the circus, and that they could spend their later years being pampered and enjoying being bears. I treasure the one hour I could spend with Boris, nearly two years ago. It took me two days at the zoo to get that one hour, but it was well worth it, to see how content he was, and to hear all those wonderful stories from his keeper. He was a wonderful fellow, and lived a long life, most of it in Tacoma. Thanks to Point Defiance Zoo for taking such good care of him.


  5. I am so sorry. May Boris rest in peace. We will never forget him. We will always love him. We love you Boris.

  6. Dear Mervi!
    Thank you for transmitting this touching tribute to Boris. May he rest in peace now.
    My heartfelt sympathy goes to the staff of the Tacoma Zoo and I feel sorry for them that they have lost this beloved and dear old bear.
    It may be a comfort for them, that they have ensured him a really good life until the end. This is all the more heart-warming since he had to suffer in a circus before he was rescued and came to Tacoma. Boris reached a respectable age and he has been loved what´s the main thing!

    Dear Molly!
    Thank you for your personal view on this handsome and special polar bear!


  7. Dear Mervi and Molly
    It is somehow fitting that a bear called Boris should find a home after the end of the Cold War with people who represent all thats best in the USA. People who gave him love and respect.
    I am sad at his parting but so grateful to all those who rescued the East German bears from cruel conditions and gave them a home.
    Maybe Boris will be with Victor in icefields over the rainbow bridge. Free at last.

  8. Dear Mervi!
    Boris has not an easy life. It is great that he spent last 18 years in the good zoo. He was loved.
    R.I.P Boris

  9. Liebe Mervi,
    liebe Molly,

    es ist eine beeindruckende Lebensgeschichte, die wir vor allem deinen Recherchen, liebe Molly, verdanken mit all den interessanten verwandtschftlichen Verbindungen, selbst bis hin zu Knut!

    Nun ruht Boris in Frieden und die Vorstellung von Ralph gefaellt mir sehr.
    Das Abschiedsvideo des Zoos ist eine liebevolle Hommage an ihren geliebten Boris!

    Herzliche Grüße

  10. Boris hat viel mitgemacht und es ist schoen, dass er in den letzten fast 20 Jahren ein gutes Leben hatte, geliebt und bestens versorgt. Ralphs Vorstellung ist wunderschoen,machs gut lieber Boris.

    Alles Liebe, Erika

  11. dear Mervi,
    this is very sad, but thank you for giving us this information the video is touching
    dear Boris, at first you had not an easy life but then many many years you could live in one of the best home in the world and you had many good fiends and good keepers, who loved you so much and will not forget you
    in heaven in the eternity you will all find you need and you will meet many other beloved animals
    good bye

  12. Liebe Mervi,
    immer traurig wenn einer unserer Lieblinge über die Regenbrücke geht!
    traurige Grüße Moni K

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