Polar Bear Anana Killed by Male Counterpart during Breeding at the Detroit Zoo — See Details

Laura Beatham
Feb 14, 2021
11:40 A.M.

A female polar bear passed away after a tragic death at the Detroit Zoo. The Zoo's announcement will be shared below.


A female polar bear named Anana passed away this week at the Detroit Zoo. She was 20 years old at the time of her sudden and tragic death.

The Detroit Zoo released a statement and revealed that Anana had been killed by her male cagemate, Nuka, while he was attempting to mate with her.

Anana, who passed away this week, pictured enjoying the snow. | Photo: Facebook/detroitzoo.

Anana, who passed away this week, pictured enjoying the snow. | Photo: Facebook/detroitzoo.

This is the first incident of an animal being killed by another animal in over 30 years at the Zoo. The last incident was in 1988 and was between polar bears too.

Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer, shared that the polar bears have not had any incidents since living together from 2020. He shared that the staff is devastated by the loss:


“This was completely unexpected and the Detroit Zoo staff is devastated by the loss of Anana in this sudden and tragic event.”


The pair of polar bears were separated for a few months but were reintroduced the week before her death as a part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Polar Bear Species Survival Plan.

The survival plan is a conservation and cooperative population management program devised to help ensure healthy animal populations' sustainability in captivity.

In other bear-related news, a Giant panda gave birth at the National Zoo in Washington DC in August last year.


Polar bears are an endangered species, so the program is vital is sustain their population. The program can succeed as twin cubs, who Nuka fathered, were born in November 2020.

There are currently only 55 polar bears across the 25 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. Nuka has lived with other female polar bears without harmful behavioral issues, as the Zoo shared:

"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 has been located at the Detroit Zoo since January 2020. She snd Nuka were introduced in March. Suka, the Zoo's other adult female, is in her own maternity ward.

In November 2020, Suka gave birth to a set of healthy twins. It marked the first time in 20 years that polar bear cubs had been successfully birthed at the Detroit Zoo.


In other bear-related news, a Giant panda gave birth at the National Zoo in Washington DC in August last year. The panda's name is Mei Xiang, and it was reported that she was caring for her cub attentively.

Panda bears' births and caring for the cubs are risky because the babies are so small. A newborn panda is only 1/900 of its mother's weight. In comparison, human babies are about 1/22 of their mother's weight.

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