Brutus, Ellen Trout Zoo’s North American Black Bear, died Thursday due to age related causes. Brutus was nearly 29 years old; the life span for his species is 21-33 years. Brutus came to the Ellen Trout Zoo in August of 1984 as a confiscation by Texas Parks and Wildlife. For most of his life he was the only Black Bear exhibited in East Texas and western Louisiana. As such, was the “mascot” for the East Texas Black Bear Taskforce. As a cub Brutus was declawed by his previous owners and this led to some arthritic conditions in his forelegs as he aged. He has been under veterinary supervision for this condition. Last week Brutus suffered an event that affected his posture and ability to right himself. Dr. Mike Nance, the zoo’s Staff Veterinarian, knew that this appeared to be clinical evidence of central nervous system disease. Brutus was taken off exhibit and moved to the zoo’s animal hospital where he could be closely watched and cared for. He died at approximately 11 am Thursday morning in the presence of his keepers, veterinarian and curator. He was a long time favorite resident at the Ellen Trout Zoo and will be missed by all.  I have been a frequent visitor of Ellen Trout, and this bear has been there my entire life.   he was always sunning on his back, and very active.  Wish him a fond farewell with your comments!