It has been a rollercoaster of emotions for the staff at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls to start Thanksgiving week. One minute they are welcoming new babies into their family, and the next they are saying goodbye to others.

In a Facebook post on Monday, the staff at the Great Plains Zoo made the heartbreaking announcement that one of their beloved black bears has passed away. The gentle giant they loved...Charles.

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Charles was 24-years-old. He came to the Great Plains Zoo with his sister Ella in 2009.  Zookeepers at the Great Plains Zoo who met Charles fell in love with him almost immediately. The Facebook post describes Charles as a black bear who was "sweet and gentle." He was a big lover of snacks! Charles loved pumpkins, walnuts, and mulberry browse. On sunny days, zoo patrons could be found Charles in the sun taking a nap or playing with his toys.

He was one of the favorites among the staff and guests at the Great Plains Zoo. Some people might have noticed that Charles wasn't seen much in public. Zoo officials explained in the Facebook post that Charles was not doing well and hadn't been for quite some time:

Due to declining health in recent years, Charles has been living behind the scenes in a habitat renovated especially for his needs. We’ve loved sharing videos and photos of him enjoying his retirement.

More details about Charles' love for life at the Great Plains Zoo can be found here.

The Sioux Falls community will dearly miss Charles but will certainly continue to share his memory at the zoo.

9 Sioux Falls Streets Visitors Have A Hard Time Pronouncing

If you are visiting or new to Sioux Falls and trying to find your way around, chances are you really don't need to pronounce street names correctly. All you have to do is enter your destination into Google Maps and your phone will show you the way.

But what if you are trying to tell someone where your cool friend or family member lives in our fine city? Some of our streets and avenues have tricky spellings that may throw visitors for a loop when trying to sound them out.

No one is going to mess up on the big thoroughfares like Minnesota Avenue, Western Avenue, or Louise Avenue but what about these?

Gallery Credit: Ben Davis

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