Polar bear dies of 'broken heart' at San Diego zoo

Her partner was sent away on a breeding programme

Updated: 

Polar bear dies of 'broken heart' at San Diego zoo

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


Szenja, a 21-year-old female, died suddenly at the park on Tuesday. Keepers said she had been showing a loss of appetite and energy for the last week.

See also: Polar bear to move zoos after 'divorce'

See also: Polar Bear gets afternoon tea on Arctic ship

Her companion, Snowflake, was shipped off to a zoo in Pittsburgh at the end of February for breeding purposes.

Animal rights activists said at the time that the separation would leave her "sad and alone".

It could be several weeks before the exact cause of her death is established.


According to the Standard, Al Garver, SeaWorld San Diego's vice president of zoological operations said: "Szenja was a beloved member of our animal family, so this is a very difficult day for all of us."

The Independent reports that Szenja was born at a zoo in Germany in 1995. She was moved to SeaWorld two years later when the park opened its Wild Arctic exhibit.

The site adds that polar bears can live up to around 18 in the wild and 20 to 30 years or more in captivity. Just last week, the oldest bear in captivity in America died at the age of 36 at San Francisco Zoo.

Beautiful photos of polar bears and their cubs

Beautiful photos of polar bears and their cubs