Memory of Binky and Nuka
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!
page was created by The Alaska Zoo Education Department.