Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Female masquerading as male pulls wool over Japanese zookeepers

Japanese zookeepers were surprised to find that a polar bear that they thought was a male was actually a female.
Tsuyoshi is a four-year-old, 441 lb cream-colored polar bear living in the Kushiro Municipal Zoo and has been pulling the wool over the eyes of the zookeepers since she was three months old.

At that time Tsuyoshi was "tagged" as a male, apparently it's very difficult to determine the sex of a polar bear due to their heavy coat. I'm sure they don't really enjoy it when someone comes after them with a pair of latex gloves - I know I get a little nervous - and I'm not a polar bear!

Tsuyoshi was brought to the zoo to breed with one of the female polar bears that was already there but after several months it was apparent that Tsuyoshi just "wasn't that into her." The zookeepers started getting worried and saw that the two bears actually urinated in the same manner, which seemed strange to them. Several DNA tests of her hair and a manual examination finally proved that Tsuyoshi was in fact a female.

The zookeepers are now a little frustrated because Tsuyoshi was brought there to be a mate - but now that's not happening. They are going to check with other zoos in the region to see what can be done.

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