Female polar bear killed by male bear at Detroit Zoo during breeding experiment


DETROIT – Staff at the Detroit Zoo mourn the loss of a female polar bear. 20-year-old Anana died when 16-year-old male Nuka tried to breed. This happened on Monday, February 8th.

Scott Carter, chief of life sciences at the Detroit Zoological Society, said the two bears lived together seamlessly last year. This is the first killing of a Detroit zoo animal since another animal since another polar bear died in 1988.

“It was completely unexpected and the staff at the Detroit Zoo will be destroyed by the loss of Anana in this sudden and tragic event,” Carter said.

The two polar bears were reintroduced last week after being separate for several months. It is part of the Polar Bear Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a cooperative population management and conservation program that helps ensure the sustainability of healthy captive animal populations.

This program is key to maintaining this endangered species and can lead to successful breeding. Two twin puppies were recently born at the Detroit Zoo, Nuka. There are currently only about 55 polar bears in 25 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.

Nuka has lived at the Detroit Zoo since 2011 and has lived and bred with several other female bears. Anana arrived at the Detroit Zoo in January 2020. Another adult female polar bear, Suka, at the Detroit Zoo is in a private maternity home with one of her cubs.

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