Phoenix Zoo discovers 2-year-old bear is female, not male

You could call it a real em-bear-assment or a true faux "paw."

A bear the Phoenix Zoo thought was a male, soon to be on the way to Nashville for breeding turned out not to be a boy at all, but a girl.

For the last two years, little Luka cavorted around the Andean Bear Enclosure and her keepers were certain they had a little boy bear on their hands.

That's what they thought after an exam early on, but just before they were going to transfer the 2-year-old to a zoo in Nashville, they took another look. They discovered that Luka is a girl.

"Actually a little bit surprised, it is not abnormal in our field, reptiles and birds get mis-sexed pretty often... you really could not tell just by looking," said Shawna Farrington with the Phoenix Zoo.

"Even looking at our adult bears it is hard to tell, you can't see their genitalia," she said.

So Luka might still go to Nashville, but she also might wind up in another breeding program now that the zoo knows that she's a she.

"The moral of the story is you always question science, nothing is ever a definite, and change is okay, and having a female is better for the population, and it is better for us, it will allow us to have more cubs in the future," said Farrington.

Luka could not be reached for comment, although zoo staff say she appears to be taking the humans' confusion in stride.
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