COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Riverbanks Zoo said a heartbreaking goodbye on Saturday to a bear that, along with his brother, has long captivated visitors.
The zoo announced on social media that Sundance, one of the park's two grizzly bears, had died after a recent decline in health.
"Sundance and his brother Butch have lived at Riverbanks since the boys were about 9 months old and, during that time, have become a guest favorite and loved by so many in the community," the park said in the announcement.
Described as an "expert napper" the park said he was often called their "sunshine bear" who would dig the perfect hole for relaxing. They said he also loved to wrestle with his brother and "oversaw" his Butch's hole-digging exploits.
"We feel his loss greatly and know that others will too as he touched so many lives," the park said. "Sundance was an amazing ambassador for his wild counterparts, and we know that he inspired guests to protect and conserve nature."
In the announcement, Riverbanks Zoo asked visitors to share their favorite memories and photos of Sundance in the comments.