Today I read an interesting story on National Public Radio web site. It's about elder animal care at zoos, in part about arthritic aging bears at an Arizona zoo.
The story discusses a bear habitat being renovated with the aging bears in mind. It also talks about the needs of zoo animals in contrast to their lives, or deaths, "in the wild". This short story mentions bears, prairie dogs, and snakes.
One of many noteworthy facts concerns prairie dogs and how they "take care" of their own. According to zoo officials, prairie dogs deal with the death of one of their colony in a somewhat (to me) human way: they bury their dead. I had no idea prairie dogs did this, and think it's really fascinating. I've read elsewhere that elephants, when coming upon skeletal remains of other elements, grieve and bury the remains before moving on.
Check out the story by clicking on this link. In addition, the story talks about the moral/ethical obligation of zoos to care for their elderly animals and how they are accommodated rather than euthanized.