ROYAL OAK, Mich. – The Detroit Zoological Society is mourning the loss of a female polar bear. Anana died Monday during a mating attempt by a male polar bear, Nuka. The 20-year-old female arrived at the zoo in January 2020.
She was living with 16-year-old male Nuka since March.
Here is the statement from the
Detroit Zoo late Monday:
A female polar bear at the Detroit Zoo was killed by the Zoo’s adult male bear on Monday, February 8, 2021. 20-year-old Anana died when 16-year-old male Nuka was attempting to breed her. According to Detroit Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter, the two bears had lived together without incident in 2020. “This was completely unexpected and the Detroit Zoo staff is devastated by the loss of Anana in this sudden and tragic event,” Carter said. The Detroit Zoo has not experienced the killing of one animal by another animal in decades; the last occurrence was also with polar bears in 1988.
After being apart for several months, Nuka and Anana were re-introduced last week as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Polar Bear Species Survival Plan, 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. Currently there are only about 55 polar bears in 25 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.
Nuka has lived at the Detroit Zoo since 2011 and has lived with, and bred with, several other female bears without showing harmful behavior. Anana came to the Detroit Zoo in January, 2020, and was introduced to Nuka at the end of March. The Detroit Zoo’s other adult female polar bear, Suka, is in a private maternity den with one of her cubs.
Detroit Zoological Society Read back: Detroit Zoo debuts new polar bear, Anana, to help with breeding efforts
For the first time in nearly two decades, polar bear cubs were born and are being successfully raised at the Detroit Zoo.
On Nov. 17, 2020, officials say 8-year-old mother Suka gave birth to two polar bear cubs who are now being raised at the zoo -- one by Suka, and the other by staff.
Zoo officials said the cubs, who are currently unnamed, were born in a specially-designed, private maternity den away from the other bears in the enclosure. The den is equipped with infrared video cameras that staff use to monitor the mother and cubs without disturbing them.
See the cubs here.
Copyright 2021 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.