Most people at this point have heard about the nightmare that marine parks like SeaWorld are for orcas and dolphins, but another overlooked animal had been quietly suffering, and ultimately died from a life in captivity.
Szenja, a 21-year-old polar bear, passed away on April 18, and many are claiming she died of a broken heart.
The animal was born at a zoo in the Wuppertal Zoo in Germany before she was transferred to SeaWorld in San Diego.
She had been living with her companion, Snowflake, for 20 years, until just recently, when the polar bear was transferred to a zoo in Pittsburgh for breeding purposes.
Before her move, thousands of people signed a petition in an effort to keep the best friends together, but to no avail.
After the transfer, Szenja's caretakers noticed a loss of appetite and energy for about a week, before dying suddenly last week.
The official cause of death will be revealed after a necropsy is performed, which could take weeks.
But PETA believes the answer is pure heartbreak. They said in a statement:
Szenja died of a broken heart, PETA believes. 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.
In their own statement, SeaWorld vice president, Al Garver, wrote:
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.
The average lifespan for a polar bear in the wild is between 15 and 18 years, due to climate change and habitat loss, but in captivity they can live 20 to 30 years. The oldest polar bear was 41 years old when he died.
Despite Szenja having a positive impact in the conservation community, shining a spotlight onto the need for polar bear protection, she did so by being forced to spend her time in a tiny enclosure away from her natural habitat.
BREAKING: Szenja died of a broken heart, PETA believes ? After her companion of 20 years was shipped away to breed more…
PETA continued in their statement:
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," Remain said in the statement. "Until it does, this ship will keep sinking.
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