Keepers learned during a recent check up that their Andean bear cub is a he not a she

March 22, 2015 11:20 PM

The Phoenix Zoo has something “em-bear-assing” to confess. For the past two years, the Andean bear keepers have been calling a boy … is actually a girl, reports

The zoo recently admitted online that they made a mistake when determining Luka the bear’s sex. Keepers discovered their error while doing a check-up on two-year-old Luka before moving her to a new home at a zoo in Nashville, Tennessee.

Zoo officials say this kind of mistaken identity case is relatively common among the species. The reproductive parts of the Andean bear don’t fully develop until they are two years old, which can make determining the animal’s sex difficult.

After giving Luka a check up at four months old, keepers stayed relatively hands off with the cub. Luka’s mother easily adapted to the role of parent, and the zoo’s staff wanted to let the pair bond with as little interruption as possible.

Luka was supposed to travel to Nashville to help father more Andean bears through an international species-survival program. Now that he has been revealed as a she, Luka may be moved to a different breeding program.

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