• Kyodo


Two polar bears born at a municipal zoo in Sapporo and raised as male may be suffering from a gender crisis after officials revealed Wednesday that the bears have been found to be female.

The bears, 4-year-old Tsuyoshi (which literally means “strength”) and 2-year-old Pirika, which doesn’t really have a meaning in Japanese, turned out to be female during recent health checks, officials at Sapporo Maruyama Zoo said.

Both bears are now being raised at other zoos in Hokkaido; Tsuyoshi at Kushiro Municipal Zoo in Kushiro, and Pirika at Obihiro Zoo in Obihiro.

The Sapporo zoo’s misjudgment surfaced after a “marriage” was planned for Tsuyoshi, which started living as a “bridegroom” with its match mate, Kurumi, in June, a Kushiro zoo official said.

But Tsuyoshi “never showed interest” in the female bear, the official said.

Earlier this month, the zoo tested Tsuyoshi’s physical characteristics and found he was a she, the official said.

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