Montana Zoo Mourns the Passing of Beloved Bear ‘Bruno’
"This may be one of the most difficult posts we've ever had to make."
That's how an Instagram post from ZooMontana started, on Friday, October 20, sharing the heartbreaking news that Bruno the Grizzly Bear had passed away.
Bruno and his companion Ozzy were the delight of many visitors at ZooMontana as they were known for their playful relationship. The bear enclosure is one of the most popular features at ZooMontana.
In the Instagram post, and the video above, ZooMontana shared the story of Bruno's complicated upbringing. Born in 2000, Bruno was kept illegally in a structure that was too small for him and was used for "entertainment and commercials." ZooMontana says, "While in this situation he was fed cotton candy and grape juice for sustenance..."
Thankfully, Bruno was taken to the Knoxville Zoo and eventually ZooMontana in 2008.
Bruno was "humanely euthanized" due to health issues, ones ZooMontana says are "linked to the lack of care he received as a young bear..."
The bears at ZooMontana had also become local celebrities in Billings, with Ozzy in recent years predicting who would win the SuperBowl. In a 2020 press release, according to Q2, Bruno would "sleep through the entire event" though it was noted Bruno would get his own pie, even if he wasn't doing the "picking."
As for Ozzy, the Instagram post also shared that he will be getting new companions soon, as was reported just last week. Two cubs that had been orphaned after a female grizzly was euthanized will eventually be making their way to ZooMontana, after a stay at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone.
Animals At ZooMontana
Gallery Credit: Tammie Toren