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Last Updated: Friday April 15 2011 11:40 GMT

UK polar bear put to sleep


Mercedes, one of only two polar bears living in the UK, has been put to sleep after suffering a long illness.

The 30-year-old bear was moved from Edinburgh zoo to a new, larger enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland two years ago.

She was suffering from arthritis, which made it difficult and painful for her to move about, so she was put to sleep.

A two-year-old male bear called Walker is now the only polar bear in captivity in the UK.

He also lives at the Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore.

Mercedes was rescued after being shot in Canada in 1984 and spent 25 years at Edinburgh Zoo.

She was named after the famous car company who helped pay for her journey to the UK.

In the wild polar bears normally live for around 20 years.