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: Birds 'weigh' peanuts and choose heavier ones

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

11 new species come to light in Madagascar

45 minutes ago

Madagascar is home to extraordinary biodiversity, but in the past few decades, the island's forests and associated biodiversity have been under greater attack than ever. Rapid deforestation is affecting the ...

Birds 'weigh' peanuts and choose heavier ones

May 23, 2015

Many animals feed on seeds, acorns or nuts. The common feature of these are that they have shells and there is no direct way to know what's inside. How do the animals know how much and what quality of food ...

Estuaries protect Dungeness crabs from deadly parasites

May 22, 2015

Parasitic worms can pose a serious threat to the Dungeness crab, a commercially important fishery species found along the west coast of North America. The worms are thought to have caused or contributed to ...

An evolutionary heads-up—the brain size advantage

May 22, 2015

A larger brain brings better cognitive performance. And so it seems only logical that a larger brain would offer a higher survival potential. In the course of evolution, large brains should therefore win ...

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.