Victor, the country’s oldest polar bear, has died aged 22.
The animal, which was living at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, had terminal kidney failure and became unexpectedly ill earlier on Friday so vets put him to sleep.
Victor was born at Rostock Zoo in Germany, before moving to Rhenen in the Netherlands. After he retired from the European breeding programme, he was rehomed in Yorkshire in 2014.
He fathered 13 cubs during his time in the breeding programme.
The directors of the park thanked the team of vets from Portland House Veterinary Group who responded so quickly and the “dedicated” team who had “loved and cared” for the bear since his arrival.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park said: “Victor was a great ambassador for his species, inspiring generations and drawing attention to the plight of his species in the wild and the threat of climate change. He will be greatly missed by everyone.”