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Zoo's polar bear breeding plan scuppered by girl-on-girl

Male actually female, staff belatedly note

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A northern Japanese zoo's polar bear breeding plan was somewhat delayed when staff noticed the male brought in to make the beast with two backs with their resident female was himself herself a girl.

According to Reuters, four-year-old Tsuyoshi had been "living in harmony" with the unnamed female at Kushiro Municipal Zoo since the two were introduced back in June.

Zookeeper Masako Inoue explained: "We thought he was a male, so we never had any doubts as we took care of him. But one day we realized that the two bears urinate in the same way, and we thought, is that how males do it? And once we started to look at things that way, we weren't quite so sure."

Cue two DNA tests on Tsuyoshi's hair and a "manual examination", which revealed the animal's true gender.

Inoue insisted it's no simple matter to correctly identify a polar bear's sex since "their long hair makes it difficult to distinguish, especially when the bears are young". Tsuyoshi was tagged as a bloke at three months, Inoue noted.

The zoo is now planning to chat to other local zoos to see if can get its breeding plan back on track. ®

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