See more of the story

Buzz, the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory’s popular polar bear, has died, the St. Paul zoo announced Saturday.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of Buzz,” the zoo said on social media. “Buzz’s health declined due to suspected neurological issues and after all treatment options were exhausted with the animal care and veterinary team, the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the 24-year-old bear was made.”

Buzz, and his twin brother Neil (the pair named for Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin), were born in December 1995 at the Louisville Zoo and came to St. Paul in 2001 after a time in San Diego, the zoo said.

“Buzz enjoyed rolling in the dirt, patrolling the exhibit, and bossing around his brother,” the zoo said. “He was an active participant in the zoo’s operant conditioning training program and was the third polar bear in the country to allow zookeepers to draw blood voluntarily (Neil was the second).”

The zoo eulogized the big bear as “a proud ambassador of conservation.”