Mackenzie, the bear who lived in the Bear Forest in Ouwehand Zoo since the very beginning, has died. Bear Mackenzie suffered from osteoarthritis for some time. It is a common joint disease in bears which have lived on concrete during their younger years. To be able to move without too much pain, Mackenzie was given pain medication for the past three years. But during the last few months we noticed that he was not responding to his meds anymore. He hardly moved, even for his favorite food. Osteoarthritis is very painful, and after long and thorough deliberation it was decided to end his suffering and euthanize him peacefully this morning.
A bear with a moving past
Mackenzie was world famous. He was discovered in very bad condition near the Bosnian town of Vitez. He was the prime attraction next to a restaurant and ‘earned his living’ as dancing bear. His owner had fled because of the Bosnian civil war and the bear was left behind. UN soldiers from the UK found him and Mackenzie was freed and flown to the Netherlands with the help of ‘Libearty’. He was named after Lewis Wharton MacKenzie, Major-General in the Yugoslav war in the early 90s, and commander of the UN troops who liberated bear Mackenzie. Mackenzie was the biggest bear to ever live in the Bear Forest, and an absolute ruler of ‘his’ forest! R.I.P.