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    World's oldest polar bear dies in Winnipeg zoo at 42

    Oldest living polar bear-world record set by Debby

[Aug 11] WINNIPEG, Canada--Forty-year-old Debby, who has called the Assiniboine Park Zoo home since 1967, has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest living polar bear. 
   Photo: (C. Procaylo/Sun Media)
   "We like to boast that we're the polar bear capital of the world, with all of the polar bears up at Churchill and along the coast," said zoo curator Bob Wrigley.
     
    At 40, Debby has doubled the life expectancy of most polar bears. In the wild, the massive Arctic bears usually live about 20 years. Like many 40-year-olds, Debby likes her beauty rest.

     "She'd probably still be sleeping right now if I hadn't thrown some food out," remarked zookeeper Harold Masters after tossing bread into the bear's enclosure Friday.

     Masters has worked with Debby for eight years and said she has a distinct personality, enjoying treats like veggie dogs and smoked goldeye. "For a bear ... she is very independent," Masters explained.     The zoo keeper is confident the polar bear will reach 41, the oldest recorded age for any polar bear, and several years beyond. Debby is also the second-oldest living example of all seven bear species. The oldest is 43.

    Debby has also had some medical treatments over the years, including dental work, and receives daily doses of Aspirin to ward off small strokes, something posing a problem in the past.
     
   Zoo officials believe Debby was born in December'66 and arrived in Winnipeg from Russia the following spring. Since then, Debby has produced six surviving offspring with her late mate, Skipper, and thrilled millions of visitors, said Wrigley. For years, she shared an enclosure with her mate Skipper, who died six years ago at age 34.

 
  Debby's story was submitted to Guinness World Records by 17-year-old Samantha Machan. The Winnipeg high school student said she was inspired to send the bear's details to the book's London, England, publisher after touring the zoo on a work placement.

  "With the whole issue of global warming, seeing one live this long is really remarkable," she said.

   At a celebration of her world record later this month, zookeepers plan to feed Debby some of her favourite treats smoked goldeye, veggie dogs and a fish frozen inside a block of ice.

  World's oldest polar bear dies in Winnipeg zoo at 42

  Winnipeg zoo's polar bear, world's oldest, dying: officials