The Seneca Park Zoo announces that they’ve partnered with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), to participate in a procedure never been successful before, all in an effort to save an endangered species.

There are only 11 breeding pairs of polar bears still in human care at US zoos. Dr. Louis DiVincenti and his team at the Seneca Park Zoo are spearheading an attempt at artificially inseminating their 22-year-old polar bear Anoki, and bringing the number of this decreasing population back up.

DiVincenti says, It’s incredibly critical. This population we have in zoos is not sustainable as it is now. We need more polar bear births in zoos.

DiVincenti says what we have in the US is what we have for polar bears in zoos. There are restrictions on importing them from Canada. 

According to the zoo, the procedure went well….they hope. Dr. DiVincenti says with polar bears there’s usually no way to know if they’re pregnant…until the cub or cubs start to arrive.

He adds, They develop all the same behaviors as if they’re pregnant without being pregnant necessarily.

They can gain up to 150 pounds (ca. 68 kg), and den up, perhaps exhibiting behaviors of pregnancy, but not actually be. This is the third artificial insemination attempt on Anoki but the first here. Later this year we should know if the attempt worked. 

Polar bear insemination has been attempted with multiple bears since 2012. If Anoki produces cubs, she will be the first successful pregnancy via this method.