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Asiatic black bear from N. Korea on 1st animal exchange program dies

All Headlines 10:59 August 31, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- The female of an Asiatic black bear pair brought to the South from North Korea on the first inter-Korean animal exchange program in 1999 has died of old age, Seoul Grand Park said Wednesday.

Eutteumi, believed to be 20 years old, died Tuesday, according to the park. The Central Zoo in Pyongyang sent the animal, also known as "half-moon bear," along with tigers, red foxes and silver foxes, to the South Korean park under the program aimed at conserving animals indigenous to the Korean Peninsula.

The female bear gave birth to six cubs, two each in 2006, 2009 and 2011, even though she was malnourished and blind. Five of the six cubs have been released at Mount Jiri in southern South Korea as part of an Asiatic black bear restoration project.

"Eutteumi showed strong mothering abilities and maternal affection," the park said in a statement. "It was meaningful for her to raise her offspring for herself in spite of her disability."

The male, Dandani, which also came from the North and settled at the park with her, died in December 2012. Eutteumi had been experiencing epileptic seizures since June this year.

A wild Asiatic black is known to live for up to 25 years. The park is trying to find out details on what caused her death.

namsh@yna.co.kr
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