Female polar bear killed by male bear during breeding at Detroit Zoo


A female polar bear at the Detroit Zoo was killed Monday by a male companion attempting to breed with her.

Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer of the Detroit Zoological Society, said Anana, 20 and Nuka, 16 would have lived together without incident in 2020.

“This was completely unexpected and the Detroit Zoo staff are devastated by the loss of Anana in this sudden and tragic event,” Carter said in a statement.

The incident marked the first time since 1988 that an animal killed another animal at the zoo, officials said Monday. The final instance also concerned polar bears.

Anana came to the zoo in January 2020 and was introduced to Nuka in late March.

“After being separated for several months, Nuka and Anana were reintroduced last week as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA )’s Polar Bear Survival Plan,” zoo officials said.


The cooperative population management and nature conservation program aims to ensure the sustainability of healthy animal populations in captivity. Zoo officials paid tribute to efforts in the most recent birth of twin boys that Nuka had at the zoo.

Nuka has lived at the Detroit Zoo since 2011 and has lived or bred with several other female bears “without exhibiting harmful behavior,” the Zoological Society said.

The zoo’s other adult polar bear, Suka, who had the twin cubs, is in a private birthing den with one of her cubs.


Dusty Kennedy