Endangered Love

The Detroit Zoo's polar bear pair is perfectly matched for mating


Published:


Photograph by Tom Roy

 

The honeymoon never ended for polar bears Talini and Nuka.

Talini, the female, was born at the Detroit Zoo in 2004, and the staff has watched her grow from infancy up to 650 pounds. Nuka, her mate, was brought from Pittsburgh in 2011. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums made the match based on the bears' ages, lineage, and other factors.

Their luxurious suite — in the state-of-the-art 4-acre Arctic Ring of Life — also houses seals and arctic foxes, and includes a 190,000-gallon chilled saltwater pool. Daily room service includes a menu of fish, apples, pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, and specially formulated polar bear chow.

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are found throughout five polar nations in the Northern Hemisphere and can grow to be up to 9 feet tall and 1,400 pounds.

Unfortunately, their massive size didn't help keep them off the "threatened" list under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The worldwide population has dropped to fewer than 25,000 largely due to the thawing of arctic areas, as the bears rely on ice to hunt, breed, and sometimes to den.

Luckily, the future is bright for the happy couple. Talini is one of only 11 polar bears nationwide recommended for breeding. So with any luck, there may soon be an addition to the family.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Do Good

The Greater Detroit Philanthropy Awards are back with eight new recipients

The Way It Was

Better Made Snack Foods, 1971

AFP Interview Series: Nominee Tracy Utech

With over 20 years of experience, Utech and her team have championed funds that have seen benefit outside of Wayne State’s campus.

AFP Interview Series: Nominee Karen Smithbauer

A career as a preschool teacher and battle with breast cancer, ground Smithbauer's philanthropic efforts

An Hour with ... Faith Duede

Founder, Rocky Horror Preservation Society
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Top Docs List 2018
  2. Memories of Miya
    Citizen Yoga founder, Kacee Must Leeb reflects on her sister’s suicide, its impact on her...
  3. Introducing the Piekie
    These cookie-shaped pies win big on-screen and off
  4. Mending Migraines
    Nausea, excruciating head pain, sensitivity to light and noise: The oppressiveness of the list of...
  5. Seeking Support
    Like many metro areas across the U.S., finding a therapist in and around Detroit can prove to be...
  6. The Sixth Man
    A youth basketball coach teaches lessons on and off the court
  7. Therapy in the Digital Age
    New innovations that revolutionize traditional approaches to counseling
  8. Author's Cuisine
    At M Cantina in Dearborn, Junior Merino is creating a new kind of Mexican cuisine that is...
  9. Food Recipe: Chili
    Michael Keys, of Red Crown in Grosse Pointe Park, shares his favorite chili recipe
  10. Seeing Clearly
    The co-founders behind Genusee on making eyewear with a mission