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A female polar bear was killed yesterday (2/8) by a male polar bear that was attempting to mate with her at the Detroit Zoo.

Zoo officials released a statement to the Detroit Free Press saying that the bears had lived together in 2020 without incident.

Anana, a 20-year-old female at the zoo was killed as Nuka, a 16-year-old male attempted to breed with her.

Detroit Zoological Society Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter said the bears had been previously separated, then reunited last month. In the release, Carter says that staff members at the zoo are devastated by Anana's loss.

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

According to the Royal Oak-based Detroit Zoological Society, Nuka has been at the Detroit Zoo since 2011.

According to the Free Press, this is the first time an animal has died because of an attack by another animal at the Detroit Zoo since 1988. That incident also involved polar bears housed at the zoo.

Here's more from the Zoological Society's news release:

"After being apart for several months, Nuka and Anana were re-introduced last week as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) 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. Currently there are only about 55 polar bears in 25 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums."

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