If you needed reassurance that love exists, look no further than the relationship between Szenja and Snowflake.
No, those aren't the names of two regular girls. In fact, they're two female polar bears who had been together in SeaWorld for over 20 years (which is longer than any relationship I've ever had).
But with any true romance comes turmoil and heartbreak, which is what PETA believes to be the cause of Szenja's passing.
Yep, grab your tissues. After SeaWorld decided to ship 22-year-old Snowflake off to Pittsburgh for breeding purposes, 21-year-old Szenja couldn't take being apart from her long-time companion.
The poor polar bear was crippled by Snowflake's absence and ultimately died of a "broken heart" — and PETA isn't too pleased about it.
“After losing her companion of 20 years when SeaWorld shipped Snowflake to the Pittsburgh Zoo in order to breed more miserable polar bears, Szenja did what anyone would do when they lose all hope, she gave up," Tracy Remain, executive vice president of PETA, said in a statement.
Dan Mathews, PETA senior vice president, also went on record in defense of same-sex animal relationships. For all you skeptics out there, they do exist.
Mathews told The Huffington Post,
Homosexuality has been observed in more than 500 species, from polar bears to chickens. This shows not just how natural it is to be gay but also how much we have in common with all animals ― and why their rights must be respected. SeaWorld routinely tears apart marine-mammal families, and in this case, it sentenced a desperate same-sex couple to a miserable life and death. That's why SeaWorld's business is tanking.
Love is love, y'all, even if it's furry and on all fours.
Naturally, SeaWorld was quick to defend its brand and explain what they believe to be the true cause Szenja's death.
“It is well documented that adult polar bears are typically solitary animals, and Szenja was continually cared for and enriched by her dedicated and passionate animal care team,” David Koontz, director of communications at SeaWorld San Diego, said.
He continued, "Unlike wild polar bears facing habitat loss, human encroachment and limited food sources, Szenja lived an long and enriching life at SeaWorld with the passionate and uncompromising care provided to her by her loving trainers, and made a positive impact on the tens of millions of park guests that had the chance to see her over the past 20 years.”
In a statement, SeaWorld also added, "We're proud to have been a part of her life and to know that she inspired people from around the world to want to protect polar bears in the wild."
Now, whether you're in support of SeaWorld or PETA's stance against the alleged treatment of the arctic animals, one thing's for certain: Szenja was cute AF and will be forever missed.
Citations: PETA Says Polar Bear Died Of 'Heartbreak' After Separated From 'Same-Sex Partner' (The Huffington Post), Polar Bear 'Dies Of A Broken Heart' After Same-Sex Companion Of 20 Years Relocated From SeaWorld (The Gaily Grind)