ROYAL OAK, Mich. – The Detroit Zoo is debuting a new polar bear, Anana, to help the threatened species with its breeding efforts.
Anana made her debut Thursday, on International Polar Bear Day.
March marks the start of polar bear breeding season, which is already apparent for 15-year-old male Nuka and 7-year-old female Suka, who have been at the Detroit Zoo since 2011 and 2018, respectively.
“Suka started cycling, so that’s where Nuka’s mind is these days,” said Randi Meyerson, a life sciences officer at the Detroit Zoo.
Anana is 19 years old and was previously at the Cincinnati Zoo to breed with another male polar bear. When that polar bear didn’t appear to be fertile, Anana was brought to the Detroit Zoo to breed with Nuka.
“He’s in his prime,” Meyerson said.
Nuka, Suka and Anana are all known as genetically valuable polar bears, so it’s important to get them all together during breeding season. The goal is to breed more polar bears -- currently a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
“Even though the total numbers right now are not very low, because of the risk to their entire habitat, they’re been put on the endangered species list,” Meyerson said.
Even though breeding season only runs through June, Anana is here to stay.