Polar bear ‘dies of a broken heart’ after same-sex partner is moved away

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A polar bear has died just weeks after her same-sex partner of 20 years was transferred to a different zoo.

Szenja, who was left alone at SeaWorld San Diego after her companion Snowflake was moved to Pittsburgh Zoo, died of a broken heart, animals rights charity Peta has claimed.

Szenja had lived with Snowflake for almost all of her 21 years.

Polar bear ‘dies of a broken heart’ after same-sex partner is moved away

Her death came after weeks of appetite and energy loss, the San Diego Union-Tribune has reported.

On its site, Pittsburgh Zoo states that polar bears “can live up to 30 years in captivity.”

The decision to move Snowflake across the country left Szenja as the only polar bear at the SeaWorld.

Peta held up Szenja’s death as proof that SeaWorld needs to treat its polar bears better.

“Szenja did what anyone would do when they lose all hope, she gave up,” the charity stated on its SeaWorld of Hurt campaign blog.

“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, the charity warned, “this ship will keep sinking.”

SeaWorld San Diego vice-president Al Garver 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.”

SeaWorld has explained in the past that moving Snowflake is part of a national program to increase the number of polar bears, which is estimated to be between 22,000 and 31,000.