A female polar bear at the Detroit Zoo has been killed by a male polar bear who was attempting to breed her, officials have said.
The 20-year-old polar bear, named Anana, was killed by the Zoo’s 16-year-old adult male bear, Nuka, on Monday, the zoo confirmed in a statement.
The pair, who are said to have lived together without incident in 2020, was re-introduced last week after several months apart as part of the Zoo’s conservation programme.
“This was completely unexpected and the Detroit Zoo staff is devastated by the loss of Anana in this sudden and tragic event,” Detroit Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter said.
The Detroit Zoo said it had not experienced the killing of one animal by another animal in decades with the last occurrence also being with polar bears in 1988.
Nuka and Anana were re-introduced as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Polar Bear Species Survival Plan.
The survival plan is a cooperative population management and conservation program that helps ensure the sustainability of healthy captive animal populations.
“This program is vital to sustaining this endangered species and can result in successes like the recent birth of twin cubs, fathered by Nuka at the Detroit Zoo,” the zoo said in a release.
The Detroit Zoo’s other adult female polar bear, Suka, is in a private maternity den with one of her cubs.
The two cubs were born at the zoo in November 2020 to eight-year-old Suka and were the first polar bears to be born and successfully raised at the Detroit Zoo since 2004.
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