August 30, 2013
World's Oldest Black Bear Dies at Age 39 ½
By Ben Romans
Bear No. 59, reportedly the oldest bear in the world at 39 ½ years old, died of natural causes in northern Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest, according to Karen Noyce, a research biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
According to an article from the Star Tribune, Bear No. 59 lived 19 years longer than any of the 360 other radio-collared bears DNR researchers followed in the same timeframe. She raised eight litters for a total of 22 cubs; the last litter birthed in 1999. The second oldest bear on record is a brown bear that lived 34 years.
A DNR pilot picked up the bear’s signal on Aug. 19, several miles from her usual home range, but it wasn’t moving. Noyce was able to find the location and said all signs indicate it died a quiet death sometime in mid-July.
“It looked like a pretty peaceful setting, a cool, shady spot in the woods,” she said. “Just the kind of place a bear would have taken its midday nap.”