A female polar bear has been killed by a male in a mating attempt at a zoo in the United States.
Tragedy struck when 20-year-old Anana was killed by potential mate Nuka, 16, at Detroit Zoo in the US state of Michigan.
It is the first time an animal has killed another animal at the zoo since 1988. The pair had lived alongside each other without incident since Anana arrived at the zoo last March.
Although the duo had lived apart for several months, they were reintroduced last week in the hope that they would breed to boost numbers of the endangered creatures.
The previous animal killing more than 30 years ago also involved polar bears.
Scott Carter, the Detroit Zoological Society’s Chief Life Sciences Officer, said: “This was completely unexpected and the Detroit Zoo staff is devastated by the loss of Anana in this sudden and tragic event.”
Nuka had previously impregnated numerous other female polar bears “without showing harmful behaviour”, according to zoo officials.
Detroit Zoo is home to one other adult female polar bear named Suka, who recently gave birth to two of Nuka’s cubs.
While Suka cares for her one of the cubs in a private enclosure, the other is being raised by zoo staff.