DUDLEY Zoo staff have been mourning the loss of Asiatic black bear Inca who has passed away.

The zoo confirmed this morning that Inca - the oldest known moon bear in Europe - died last night (Thursday) at the grand age of 38.

Curator Richard Brown said: “Inca was very special to Dudley Zoological Gardens and had outlived the typical life expectancy of her species by more than a decade.

“As she got older she continued to astound keepers and veterinary staff year-on-year as she flew through annual health checks.

“She was much-loved by staff and visitors and we were delighted to allow her to live out her twilight years in comfort. She will be missed.”

Inca arrived at Dudley Zoo from Cumbria in 1990 with her mum Winnie and older sister Gretel.

The siblings were moved to Glasgow in 1997, before returning to Dudley in 2003 where they lived together until Gretel’s death 10 years ago.

Typically a solitary species, Inca continued to thrive on her own and in her later years was often seen soaking up the sunshine in her outdoor enclosure.