Polar bear dies unexpectedly at SeaWorld San Diego

Anana's cub

A polar bear has died at SeaWorld in San Diego two months after being separated from her companion.

An animal advocacy group's allegation that a polar bear at SeaWorld San Diego died of a broken heart elicited a strong response Wednesday from the theme park. Recently Snowflake was sent to Pittsburgh Zoo in an attempt to breed her.

"This lively cub weighs approximately 60 pounds and enjoys exploring, rolling in dirt, swimming, playing with her mom, and napping so she can get a second round of energy!" the Zoo announced. SeaWorld will be conducting a necropsy to determine the cause of death, park officials said.

"Szenja was a beloved member of our animal family, so this is a very hard day for all of us", said Al Garver, the park's vice president of zoological operations.

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Elsewhere in the country, the oldest polar bear in the United States, a female called Uulu, died last Friday at the San Francisco Zoo.

Szenja was born in Germany and acquired by SeaWorld in 1997 for its then- new "Wild Arctic" exhibit.

Szenja lived at the park for almost two decades. She passed away Tuesday, the park said. In the wild, polar bears live to about 18 years, but in captivity they can survive 20 to 30 years or more. The pair lived together in the exhibit for 20 years. "Until it does, this ship will keep sinking", Remain added, as reported in the Times of San Diego.

SeaWorld San Diego shipped Snowflake to Pittsburgh as part of a national programme to boost the polar bear population, which scientists estimate to be between 22,000 and 31,000 worldwide. "Polar bears are naturally solitary in the wild, but there is nothing natural about life at SeaWorld - or at the Pittsburgh Zoo, where SeaWorld is trying to breed more polar bears for sideshow attractions in which they're confined to one-millionth of their minimum home range in nature". The animals are threatened by climate change, poaching, pollution and a rapid loss of sea ice in the wild.

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