A polar bear Szenja (21) has died in captivity at SeaWorld San Diego, USA, this week. She had been separated from her life-long friend Snowflake for two months at the moment of passing away. Snowflake was shipped to a zoo in Pittsburgh for breeding purposes in spite of the protests of animal rights activists, and NGOs, who repeatedly asked the management of the zoo to leave the couple together. Following the separation of the two companions, Szenja’s keepers said she had been showing signs of lethargy and loss of appetite. SeaWorld has said that it could be several weeks before the cause of death is determined, whilst there is even speculation that it was sheer loneliness and boredom that killed Szenja.
Polar bears can often be observed displaying stereotypical behaviour, such as repetitive pacing, when held in captivity. Born Free foundation experts are convinced that these naturally far-ranging animals simply cannot thrive when kept in a restricted captive environment.