Yet another innocent animal has died before its time whilst being held in captivity in SeaWorld’s San Diego park.
Szenja, a 21-year-old female polar bear born in a German zoo, unexpectedly died in her habitat on Tuesday after living at the San Diego park for the last 20 years with her best friend Snowflake.
Despite a petition to keep the two polar bears together, no doubt some monetary motivation meant that SeaWorld chose to ship Snowflake to the Pittsburgh Zoo in order to breed more polar bears for them to keep in captivity instead of the vast Arctic where they belong.
Snowflake was taken at the end of February and keepers noticed Szenja’s loss of appetite and energy for up to a week before she died.
In the wild, polar bears typically live up to the age of 25 to 30, according to the National Geographic.
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.
Szenja not only touched the hearts of those who have cared for her over the last two decades, but also the millions of guests who had the chance to see her in person.
We’re proud to have been a part of her life and to know that she inspired people from around the world to want to protect polar bears in the wild.
Tracy Remain, PETA executive vice president told NBC:
After losing her companion of 20 years when SeaWorld shipped Snowflake to the Pittsburgh Zoo in order to breed more miserable polar bears, Szenja did what anyone would do when they lose all hope, she gave up.
This should be a wake-up call to SeaWorld: Stop breeding and shipping animals around, close the animal exhibits, and retire the animals to sanctuaries.
Until it does, this ship will keep sinking.
We, and other accredited and world-class zoological facilities, remain focused on our important mission of animal conservation and public education and inspiration. We will not be distracted by organisations with a clear anti-zoo agenda creating false narratives not grounded in any scientific fact.
It is well documented that adult polar bears are typically solitary animals, and Szenja was continually cared for and enriched by her dedicated and passionate animal care team. She did not demonstrate any adverse behavioural changes following Snowflake’s transport to the Pittsburgh Zoo in February as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding visit. Unlike wild polar bears facing habitat loss, human encroachment and limited food sources, Szenja lived an long and enriching life at SeaWorld with the passionate and uncompromising care provided to her by her loving trainers, and made a positive impact on tens of millions of park guests that had the chance to see her over the past 20 years.
The oldest polar bear in the United States, a female called Uulu, passed away last Friday at the age of 36 at San Francisco Zoo.
SeaWorld has a track history for splitting adored animals from their loved ones. The phenomenal documentary Blackfish revealed all with how the business treated its Orcas causing its stocks and attendance to plummet..
Check out the trailer here: