First the whole global warming thing, and now this.
A zoo in Germany is letting three polar bear cubs starve because the mama bear doesn't have any interest in raising them.
(Sounds like Mama Bear needs a little Zoloft...)
I found very annoying (and probably poorly translated and taken out of context, but I'm still mad) quotes here.... including:
'We expect to be branded as being cruel to animals. The fact is in nature, if something goes wrong, it goes wrong,' he said. 'If you don't let the mothers practise, they'll never learn how to bring up their cubs.Um, hello? A zoo is not "nature." It is about as far from a natural environment as polar bears can get. It really sounds like they're saying, "We don't want to go to all the trouble of raising these cubs by hand, so we're just going to blame 'nature' and move on." I mean, if they were truly worried about these cubs having a "natural" experience, wouldn't they have left them in the arctic???
Vera does come out of her cave occasionally but the cubs are crying loudly, and she walks back in when they do. If we were to keep checking, we would disturb them and make it more likely that something goes wrong.'You've already disturbed them by moving them out of the arctic and putting them in a cage. Jeez, no wonder she needs Zoloft! I would, too, if you took me out of my natural environment and put me in a cage. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make sure they don't starve to death. They're "crying loudly." My heart breaks...
'Berlin Zoo did a terrific job hand-rearing Knut from day one. But we want to avoid Knutmania at all costs. If people spend hours queuing up to see a polar bear cub, there's something wrong. We've got a baby giraffe too, that's just as cute.'Oh my God, are you kidding me? You're not going to feed the polar bears because you don't want the giraffes to feel like they're second rate? Seriously?? Everyone knows that polar bears and otters are the cutest things in the zoo. No one would line up to see a baby giraffe because they're boring. They just stand there and lick the trees.
Furthermore, Knut is probably the best thing that ever happened to the Berlin zoo. How much money have they made on admissions, souvenirs, etc. because people have gone to the zoo simply to see baby Knut? Anyone who wants to avoid "Knutmania" totally flunked marketing.
And on a larger scale, what's going to get people fired up about global warming more than showing them video of cute baby polar bears who will surely die if we don't start using reusable grocery bags and driving less? (My 2008 resolution is to stop using plastic bags - so far so good, I've only used 3 plastic bags, and that's because I didn't have enough reusable bags to hold all my stuff - more are on the way and should be here this week. Once the weather stops being hateful, I'm going to attach the trailer to the bike and the girls and I are going to bike around town instead of driving, too. I have big plans...). I'm telling you, polar bears are a powerful force. My mom has become a vegetarian because the best thing you can do on a micro level to help the environment is to stop eating meat. The amount of land and fuel that goes in to raising a cow so that it can become a cheeseburger is staggering. She did it for the polar bears and the penguins.
The lesson: Never underestimate the power of cute.
Now, somebody send me to Germany so I can feed those poor bears. I can nurse them. At least until they get teeth and claws.