As first dates go, this one didn’t end well.
A male polar bear who was trying to court a female polar bear apparently pushed her over the edge of a 14-foot drop while playing this week, Memphis Zoo officials said.
Cranbeary, the 5-year-old female, had surgery Saturday to insert two steel plates and 26 screws to repair a broken leg.
Payton, the 3-year-old male, is on loan from the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois as part of a breeding program. This may be both bears’ first romance, and it got a little awkward, said Matt Thompson, mammal curator.
Zoo officials said Cranbeary is in heat, which could have led to Payton’s aggressive behavior. A visitor reported seeing him tussling with her atop the cliff before she fell.
Cranbeary will stay in her cage for at least 10 weeks until her leg is strong enough to return to the exhibit, zoo officials said.