DETROIT – A female polar bear was killed Monday at the Detroit Zoo by a male polar bear attempting to mate.
Anana, 20, was killed as Nuka, 16, attempted to breed, according to an evening news release from the Detroit Zoological Society.
The bears had lived together without incident in 2020, Detroit Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter said in the release.
They were reintroduced last week after several months apart as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Polar Bear Species Survival Plan, according to the society.
“This was completely unexpected and the Detroit Zoo staff is devastated by the loss of Anana in this sudden and tragic event,” Carter said.
Nuka arrived to the zoo in 2011 and bred with other bears without showing harmful behavior, according to the society. Anana arrived in early 2020 and the two were first introduced in March.
Nuka had just, in late 2020, fathered twins through a female polar bear named Suka.
Suka is in a private maternity den with one cub. The other required additional care.
The last time any animal was killed by another at the zoo, it was 1988, according to the society. That incident also involved polar bears.
The Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, has reached out for additional information.
Follow reporter Darcie Moran on Twitter: @darciegmoran.
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