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Chica, Binghamton Zoo's Bear, Dies At 28

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

Binghamton says farewell to Chica, the Andean bear who has been a familiar face at the zoo for the last seven years.

"There was not a dry eye out there," zoo director Jackie Peeler says about an emotional staff. 

Peeler says the decision to end the beloved bear's life was difficult to make, but Chica's health had been deteriorating for some time. When she began not wanting to climb into her hammock and rejecting food, the zoo knew it was a quality of life issue and it was time to let go.

Peeler says Chica's 28 years is a long life even in captivity. Life expectancy for Andean bears is around 20 years.

Zoo visitors will remember Chica lumbering through her habitat, occasionally stopping to sniff at visitors standing on the sidewalk.