By Danielle Chavira

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo shared a sorrowful goodbye a 29-year-old Asiatic black bear named Honey. She was one of the zoo’s longest residents.

Zoo officials say she started showing signs of illness and pain only a few days ago. Veterinarians determined euthanization was needed after finding “serious age-related conditions.”

Honey first came to the zoo with her sister, Beezler, when they were only about a year old.

Honey (credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo)

“I had walked by their exhibit for years, but until I met and started working with them a couple of years ago, I never realized how cool they were,” said Courtney Rogers, lead animal keeper for the sisters. “Even though they were sisters and lived together all their lives, Honey and Beezler had very different personalities. We often described Honey as a ‘sweet old lady,’ but she could also be super assertive at times.”

The median life expectancy for an Asiatic bear is 29.3 years.

Honey (credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo)

“After keepers noticed that Honey had some cloudiness in one eye, veterinary opthamologists recommended eye drops for her twice a day,” said Rogers. “Honey quickly learned to put her face through a modified blood draw port in her den. She was very good about holding still to let us put in the eye drops, and in return, she got a special treat of eating applesauce straight from the pouch.”

Honey was one of the oldest-known Asiatic black bears living in captivity.

Danielle Chavira