ROYAL OAK, Michigan, Feb. 10, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A female polar bear born at Utah’s Hogle Zoo was killed by a male polar bear at the Detroit Zoo Monday.
“Twenty-year-old Anana died when 16-year-old male Nuka was attempting to breed her,” said a news release from the Detroit Zoo.
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.
After being apart for several months, Nuka and Anana were re-introduced last week as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums 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,” the news release said. “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, the news release said. 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.
Utah’s Hogle Zoo released the following statement on the passing of Anana: “It’s a very sad turn of events and that can happen anytime you bring bears together. They are solitary by nature. So while it is not common that this happens it is also not uncommon that this can happen. We are really feeling for our colleagues in Detroit.”
Anana was born on Dec. 12, 2000, and made her public debut at Hogle in April 2001.
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, the news release said.
Counseling is being made available to zoo staff as they mourn the death of Anana.