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Polar bear euthanized at North Carolina Zoo

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ASHEBORO (AP) -- A polar bear at the North Carolina zoo has been euthanized because of neurological problems that left it unable to walk or stand.

The bear named Masha was put to death yesterday.

Masha was one of two given to the zoo after it was confiscated by the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service from a traveling circus in Puerto Rico.

Officials say the bear had suffered years of malnutrition. Surgery showed the bear had gastric ulcers, bladder and kidney infections and pneumonia. Masha hadn't eaten for a week before it was euthanized.

Zoo officials say records are spotty but they think the bear was 24 years old.

The second bear is Wilhelm. Officials say he is on display but also suffered poor health during his circus years.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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