World's Oldest Wild Black Bear Dies in Minnesota at 39

The world's oldest known wild black bear has died of old age, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. She was 39 and a half years old.

The bear's decomposed carcass was found in a secluded, wooded area in northern Minnesota, according to a press release from the DNR. Karen Boyce, the Department of Natural Resources researcher who found the bear, says all indications are that it died from natural causes.

Known to DNR researchers as Bear No. 56, she was first captured and radio collared in 1981. She was 7 years old at the time.

Only a few invidual study bears have been reported reaching the age of 30, according to the DNR. According to the press release, the bear visited bait sites in the last few years of her life. But hunters did not shoot her per the request by the DNR that hunters not shoot collared bears.

Photo by DNR