Athens (AFP) - A disabled bear named Usko, who survived against the odds with a broken spine after his mother was killed, has died in a Greek sanctuary, organisers said Friday.
"It is with deep sorrow that we announce that Usko, the first bear in the world that succeeded in moving around with a (wheelbarrow), has passed away," the Arcturos wildlife group said in a statement.
"During his short life, he taught us... the importance of fighting on and not giving up, even if everything seems insurmountable," they added.
Usko died from kidney failure on Monday in the Arcturos mountain sanctuary in Nymfaio, some 600 kilometres (350 miles) northwest of Athens.
He had been found in 2015 in North Macedonia as a cub, paralysed from the waist down from a broken spine. His mother had been shot and he was alone in the forest.
"The odds were not on his side. But caretakers and vets saw in Usko an incredible strength and zest for life and decided to attempt the application of a (wheelbarrow) specially crafted for him... he quickly adapted," the group said Friday.
"He outgrew three different (wheelbarrows) and became globally known as one of the very few cases of wild animals to use (such a device)," they added.
Founded in 1992, shelters bears and wolves mainly from the Balkans -- but has also taken large predators from as far away as Austria and Georgia.