May 02

SeaWorld San Diego Hoping for Pregnancy after Conducting Artificial Insemination with Park’s Polar Bear

SeaWorld San Diego’s zoological team, including Dr. Justine O’Brien from the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center, recently conducted artificial insemination with a female polar bear named Snowflake. The 19-year-old bear will be monitored for a potential pregnancy starting in early fall when animal care specialists will test her progesterone levels in the hopes of a pregnancy.

The reproductive attempt is a collaborative effort between SeaWorld and the Cincinnati Zoo, which collected and froze the semen from a male polar bear at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. Polar bear gestation lasts between seven and nine months, including a period of delayed implantation. Females give birth to one to three cubs at a time; the cubs weigh just over a pound and measure between 12 and 14 inches long.

Polar bears are a threatened species with populations on the decline due to loss of sea ice habitat. This polar bear breeding effort keeps SeaWorld and other zoological institutions at the forefront of wildlife conservation and further demonstrates their commitment to conserve a species in peril. SeaWorld and other accredited zoos, aquariums and marine parks routinely work together to ensure animal populations in their care are appropriately managed, genetically diverse and sustainable. The knowledge gained not only advances the ability to diversify and conserve zoological polar bear populations, but also helps researchers, scientists and veterinarians to learn more about how to conserve polar bears in the wild.

Watch the video below to learn more:

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a global leader in animal husbandry, training, veterinary care and assisted reproductive technologies. SeaWorld incorporates both natural breeding and assisted reproductive technologies within its breeding program to maintain genetically diverse and sustainable populations in cooperation with other zoos. The SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center at SeaWorld San Diego has pioneered artificial insemination, sex predetermination and semen preservation technologies for managing zoological populations. Since the world’s first marine mammal was conceived through artificial insemination in February 2000, nearly 50 calves across the globe have been born at SeaWorld Parks and collaborating zoos using this technique. SeaWorld has also been successful with AI in Magellanic penguins, including the world’s first-ever chicks conceived using frozen-then-thawed semen in 2014.