It’s been a rough week for Copenhagen Zoo.
First it emerged late last week that the zoo’s polar bears were displaying concerning anti-social behaviour, and now one of its rare deer has been killed and devoured by a fox.
Visitors to the zoo reported seeing the bears pacing back and forth – repetitive behaviour tends to suggest something is wrong. Bengt Holst, the scientific head at Copenhagen Zoo, confirmed that there was an issue.
“It is correct that our polar bears have begun displaying some stereotypical behaviour where they regularly repeat the same movements,” Holst told TV2 News.
“Our polar bears don’t match socially. They simply don’t like one another, and particularly the female tries to avoid the male. And that is a problem. She often swims back and forth in the enclosure because she feels pressured.”
Copenhagen Zoo is working on replacing one of the bears as part of a European breeding program, but it could take a few months. Holst said that a new male is expected to be brought to the zoo in the first part of next year, while plans for an additional female are also in the works.
Adding insult to injury, a city fox recently somehow managed to sneak into the zoo and kill the zoo’s only duiker antelope.
The zoo will look into how to avoid similar incidents in the future.
“We have plenty of enclosures with smaller animals that have the potential to be a tasty meal for a fox, even if the enclosures are well secured,” Christina Hvilsom, a worker at Copenhagen Zoo, told Videnskab.dk.
“But it still happens once in a while that an animal falls prey to a fox.”