Anana, a 20-year-old female polar bear, was killed by Nuka, a 16-year-old male bear, at the Detroit Zoo as he tried to breed with her, the zoo announced Monday.
The two bears had lived together in 2020 with no incident, according to the Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter. “This was completely unexpected and the Detroit Zoo staff is devastated by the loss of Anana in this sudden and tragic event,” said Carter.
The Detroit Zoo has not experienced an incident in which one animal killed another since 1988, according to the zoo. The incident in 1988 also involved polar bears.
Anana and Nuka were reintroduced last week as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Polar Bear Species Survival Plan, a program that aims to sustain the endangered species and ensure the sustainability of healthy captive animal populations.
Anana has lived in the Detroit Zoo since January of 2020 and was introduced to Nuka at the end of March. Nuka has lived at the Detroit Zoo since 2011 and recently fathered twin cubs born there. He has bred with and lived with multiple female bears without incident.