Friday, January 11, 2008

Ach de Polar Bears

Apparently, Germany has some sort of "thing" with polar bears? I phrase that as a question because I had no clue. But apparently, polar bears and their cubs are quite the rage over there in Germany. Problem is that the zookeepers don't exactly know how to help the cubs along in captivity when they're born there. And from what I'm reading, it's questionable as to whether or not the polar bears know how to help their cubs, born in captivity, either.

Here's a quote from Time magazine: "Earlier this week the country's tabloid press agonized over the deaths of two tiny Eisbär cubs in a Nuremberg zoo, who were presumably eaten by their inexperienced mother, Vilma, after zookeepers decided not to intervene."

"Inexperienced" mother?!? Since when is eating your young a sign of inexperience? It's a sign of hunger and it's a sign of carnivorous-ness, but not necessarily inexperience.

When explaining the reasoning behind the zoo's approach toward the polar bears, the article in Time goes on to state: "The zoo's deputy director insisted that the laissez-faire approach had a reason: "If you don't let the mothers practice, they'll never learn how to bring up their cubs," he said.

Practice? How is "accidentally" eating one's young dismissed as "practice"?! How many of one's young does one have to actually ingest before the "practice" is deemed to be ineffective at best? Again, curing one's hunger by ingesting one's young is not "practicing"; it's eating. And "they'll never learn"? They're not American teenagers! They're eating their cubs!! Also, since I'm not recalling that the polar bear is native to the German land, I'm thinking that having them in captivity, regardless as to how much the people do enjoy just looking at them, is not exactly in anyone's best interest. Especially that of any recently ingested cubs.

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