Debby, the oldest known polar bear in captivity, is suffering signs of decline after suffering several strokes, according to the Winnipeg Sun newspaper on Saturday. ( dpa )
The female bear has lost nearly 50 kilograms in the past year and is no longer interested in eating, according to zoo officials in Winnipeg, in the Canadian province of Manitoba.
"The outlook that she would recover is not good," zoo curator Bob Wrigley was quoted as saying.
Debby, the zoo's main attraction, is only 41 years old - but that equals about 118 years in human terms. Her problems are normal appearances of old age, Wrigley said.
Polar bears are among Earth's largest predators. The world population is estimated at only 20,000 to 25,000, and they face increasing dangers from the rapidly warming temperatures that are melting the ice and ice floes that they travel on in search of food.
Many are drowning as they swim exhausting distances between ice platforms.
Debby, born in Russia, is recorded as the oldest of her species by Guinness Book of Records. She has lived since 1967 at the Winnipeg zoo, where an estimated 18 million people have visited her.