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In Memory of Binky and Nuka

Polar Bear:  Ursus maritimus


Binky was found orphaned on the coast of the Beaufort Sea in 1974.  He arrived at The Alaska Zoo in 1975.  A new enclosure was built just for Binky. He spent most of his life with a companion, Nuka, who was also an orphan from the Beaufort Sea. They became ill in July of 1995 and, despite the best efforts of zoo personnel, they both died within days of each other.

Claim to Fame

Binky became famous in 1994 when a tourist from Australia climbed over protective fencing to get a better photo of him.  She thought he was asleep, but underestimated the his level of awareness.  He sprang forward and grabbed her leg, but eventually let go with her shoe as his new toy.  He had the shoe for three days before he left it behind in the exhibit, where keepers retrieved it.  The tourist was injured, but survived the incident and publicly accepted blame for climbing the protective fences.  Binky became a internationally known and had apparel and slogans named in his honor, such as "Send another tourist, this one got away".

Many long-time Alaskans clearly remember this event and still ask about Binky to this day.  One of our zoo volunteers, Millie Spezialy, even wrote a book about him titled "Binky's Trophy".  This book is sold in our Zoo Gift Shop.  We want to dedicate this page in honor of both Binky and Nuka, two polar bears that will not soon be forgotten!

This page was created by The Alaska Zoo Education Department.

Copyright © The Alaska Zoo
Page Last Updated: July 21, 2006