Polar bear dies at South African zoo

Jan 15, 2014
A polar bear outside Churchill, Mantioba, Canada on November 14, 2007

One of South Africa's two polar bears has died at the Johannesburg Zoo, leaving its mate now believed to be the only polar bear in Africa, a veterinarian said Wednesday.

Geebee, the 29-year-old polar bear, came from Canada and had long survived the in Johannesburg, where temperatures can rise above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer.

She died of natural causes and had lived in the zoo with her male partner, Wang, who is from Japan, for nearly three decades.

Veterinarian Katja Koeppel said the zoo had no plans of replacing the dead polar bear, saying the climate was not suited to a species native to some of the coldest parts of the world.

"They adapt very well but they can't breed, it's the wrong climate," she said.

She added that the two animals "preferred staying outside and swimming... then lying in the aircon room."

Since Geebee's death, Wang had displayed unusual behaviour and been destructive and restless, she said.

Explore further: Kids of Cold War crocs going to Cuba on conservation mission

Related Stories

Beagle's nose predicts few US polar bear cubs

Nov 19, 2013

A specially trained beagle's smell test for polar bear pregnancies predicts there will be few new cubs for U.S. zoos this year—although a romantic trip to Pittsburgh apparently turned out well for a female ...

Knut the polar bear's medical legacy

Jan 03, 2014

Keeping wild animals is an important component of the mission of zoos to educate the public and preserve endangered species. When animals die, tracking the potential cause becomes an investigation of pathogens ...

US tiger kills Malayan female on first mate

Dec 23, 2013

Zoo keepers are probing why a male Malayan tiger killed a four-year-old female tiger it had only just met, when they were brought together for breeding purposes in California.

Recommended for you

Big butts aren't everything to male baboons

13 hours ago

While the female baboon's big red bottom may be an eyesore to some, it has an aphrodisiac effect on her mates. Biologists have long thought that baboon males prefer females with bigger backsides as the mark ...

Telling the time of day by color

Apr 17, 2015

Research by scientists at The University of Manchester has revealed that the colour of light has a major impact on how the brain clock measures time of day and on how the animals' physiology and behavior adjust accordingly. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.