Cameron Park Zoo mourns death of Donna the black bear

Donna, a 25-year-old North American black bear.
Donna, a 25-year-old North American black bear.(Cameron park zoo)
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 1:38 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 13, 2023 at 3:22 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Cameron Park Zoo staff is mourning the the loss of Donna, a 25-year-old North American black bear.

Donna was humanely euthanized today after extensive cancer treatment. She was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a skin cancer, on her hind end in July 2022 and suffered from arthritis.

Donna has been at Cameron Park Zoo since 2005 and was advanced in age. Weighing the risks of different treatment options and keeping Donna’s best interest in mind, the veterinary staff decided against conventional therapies like radiation or chemotherapy due to the possibility of severe side effects, the safety of the staff, and the stress it would have caused Donna.

While an experimental treatment with a cancer vaccine, her current cancer showed signs of further growth. Staff then modified her environment and food intake. Veterinary and animal care staff closely monitored Donna’s quality of life as well as spending extra time with her.

“When it was clear that the cancer was negatively affecting Donna, zoo management decided that euthanasia was the best course of action to alleviate pain and suffering. The Cameron Park Zoo staff and volunteers are deeply saddened by the loss of Donna,” Monica Sedelmeier, the City of Waco’s spokesperson. “The support of the community is greatly appreciated in this difficult time.”