Japanese polar bear mating dilemma figured out: both were female

2008-11-29 17:52:41 (GMT) (Caymanmama.com - News)

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Polar bear in Japanese zoo doesn’t mate and if discovered to have been a female

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (CaymanMama.com) — The mystery of the non-mating polar bears at a Japanese zoo kept zoo keepers puzzled as to why there was a distinct lack of chemistry between their two star bears.

Four-year old “male” polar bear Tsuyoshi has been living with his 11-year-old female partner, Kurumi, since June at the Kushiro Municipal Zoo in Hokkaido in northern Japan.

On Wednesday, the case was cracked as it was discovered that Tsuyoshi was, in fact, a female.

The zoo keepers had diligently tried to mate the bear couple by launching a breeding mission but the bears never exhibited any signs of sexual interest in each other. In addition, Tsuyoshi has never gone into rut even during “his” mating period.

“Observing his behaviors, we got suspicious as to whether Tsuyoshi was really a male,” the zoo said in a statement.

Three months after the polar bear was born, the zoo said it had determined Tsuyoshi was a male.

Frustrated and concerned, the zoo’s medical team placed Tsuyoshi under an anesthetic in early November to conduct a gender checkup, and much to their surprise, the team learned “he” was actually a she.

“I have mixed feelings,” Yoshio Yamaguchi, head of the zoo.

According to the Associated Press, experts have confirmed that it is difficult to determine the gender of a polar bears when they are young as their long hair covers reproductive organs.



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