Monday, April 13, 2009

Paging Charles Darwin

In an unfortunate instance at the SF Zoo in December, 2006, a tiger escaped from its enclsoure, killed one person and mauled two others before the tiger ended up being shot and killed for (in reality) just doing what tigers do. And while extremely unfortunate and unfair for the tiger, it was either that or let the tiger run the zoo and eat whoever she wanted (which is really not a good promotion for ticket sales). But what about if the tiger was going all "tiger" on someone and the tiger wasn't in it's enclosure and the person that the tiger was tango-ing with wasn't a zookeeper or someone else who had a legitimate reason to be in there with the tiger? Then what? Let the tiger be a tiger or help out the moron who ended up in the tiger's cage? Do we help them or do we page Charles Darwin and let him take care of it? What if it were a polar bear and not a tiger? See, that's a fairly important distinction to make here because it was a polar bear and it was a moron who climbed down into the polar bear's enclosure. Hilarity did not ensue. Video did. Hilarity? Not so much.

Enter The Berlin Zoo in (surprise) Berlin, Germany. It would seem, at least according to CNN, that a woman who was at the zoo apparently felt the need to be a bit closer to the polar bear exhibit and so she "...climbed a fence and jumped into its habitat during feeding time." Now, while going into the polar bear area is a remarkably stupid thing to do, it's at least twice as stupid to do so during feeding time. Hell-o! It's right there in the name! Feeding time! The time when polar bears feed, that is correct.

The folks across the pond at Mirror.co.uk, described the scene as "...the terrifying moment when a woman tried to make friends with one of the world's most fearsome predators." Does anyone really think of the polar bear as "one of the world's most fearsome predators?" At first? I'm going to have to say no, they don't. To most people, it's a bear in the sense that a teddy bear is a bear also. It just doesn't register that this is an animal that would have no problem ripping you to shreds, no matter how nice you were to it. Yes, even if you just wanted to pet it, the polar bear would still want to eat you. Why? Because humans are made of meat, that is correct.

The Mirror.co.uk is much kinder in it's assessment of the situation that I am going to be as it states "Apparently oblivious to the danger she leapt a fence and scaled a wall to jump into an enclosure containing four polar bears." Apparently oblivious to the danger? I'm thinking this chick is oblivious to a lot more than just danger. She doesn't seem to be so keenly aware of 'Keep Out" signs either, not to mention, seeming to have lost any sort of a grip on reality and or common sense. That woman should not be allowed to wander freely about. Or, then again, maybe she should and then we could just let that work itself out on its own with a little Darwinian nudging.

After jumping into the enclosure where the meat-eating bears are kept, the woman then had to swim 30 meters to get to where the bears were! That's a little over 90 feet, which is a bit farther than I would want to travel in order to put my made of meat self directly in front of a carnivorous beast at feeding time. But she was OK with it. She was OK with the whole process...right up until the time that, according to a witness, the bear "...pounced on her in the water and seemed to grab her neck in his jaws." Again, what is with the people in this story trying to downplay this whole deal? "Seemed to grab?" It's a polar bear and a person. No offense, witness person, but you don't have to worry about the polar bear suing you for slander or libel or anything if you had just said, "grabbed her neck." I know it grabbed, you know it grabbed. There's no need to try and pretty up the story by inserting "seemed" there.



The polar bear grabbed and bit and the woman yelled and screamed. Seem about right to you? Me too. Seems about right. Meanwhile, some of the zookeepers tried to distract the bear while others attempted to rescue the woman by throwing useless styrofoam life rings at her and trying to hoist her up out of the moat. I understand that the styrofoam rings may have been all that was available and at their disposal for this rescue, but look at the picture below on this woman getting chomped on. A styrofoam life ring is not going to be the most effective life saving device with a person of her, um, stature. She seems to be a sturdy gal, probably tough to knock down. Styrofoam will not be of service to a woman of her girth.

Continuing with what seems to be a pattern of speaking kindly and in a non-accusatory manner by the folks over there at the zoo, a police spokesman stated: "The woman has proved herself to be careless by jumping into the enclosure." Um, NO. The woman has proved herself to be either a dumbass or a crazy person, quite possibly a little of each, by jumping into the enclosure. Careless is when you leave your shoes lying out where someone can trip over them. Jumping into a moat filled with polar bears is idiotic.


This genius spokesperson also said, "Logic tells us that polar bears will do this type of thing in this situation." Um, wrong again! Nature tells us that polar bears will be polar bears. When he says "This type of thing" does he mean "be a bear"? It's what he should mean, but I don't think he did.

It is thought the perhaps the woman wanted to be close to Knut. Knut, in case you missed it, was the first polar bear born in Berlin in 30 years back in 2006. You would have thought that Knut was really Brad Pitt in a furry white suit because about the same number of people who are obsessed with Brad Pitt were obsessed with that little bear (who is now a big and bite-y bear now).This is mental illness at it's finest and it's being treated as an incident involving a "careless" woman and a polar bear who acts out of "logic". ::::: sigh:::::::

Below is video of the bear being a bear and the woman being a moron. When I saw the link proclaiming "Watch polar bear attack woman," I wasn't real sure I wanted to see it, but I watched it for two reasons. One, it was only a minute long and I have a short attention span. Two, the media sucks, therefore making it at least probable that it was being sensationalized in order to attract viewers. Taking the second reason foremost into consideration, I watched it and I was right. There's nothing in there that I would call horrifying or terrifying or any -ify-ing words to describe it. It does contain one of the styrofoam life rings breaking in half as they try to lift the woman out of the enclosure a la a derrick, thus providing a bit of amusement.


But what if the bear had really gone all bear on this woman and started tearing her apart? Are we supposed to shoot the bear at that point? I guess, as an alleged civilized society, we kind of have to. But if you're someone who jumps in a moat to be with polar bears, that behavior right there classifies you as a moron. So does that mean we have to be civilized and infiltrated with the unwise as well? Seems sort of like, in the long run, we might be better off doing it the other way instead. I'll bet these sort of instances don't happen very often after letting it just work itself out, I'll tell you that.

The good photos in this post were swiped with neither permission, nor malice, from Sky News, which was the only site that I found that had something other than the same AP article (which was regurgitated by all other sites) and the same freeze frame shot from the video (which was also regurgitated by all other sites). They captioned the photo of the bear actually attacking the woman with: "This was the predictable, if shocking, outcome." Nice job, Sky News guys.

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1 comment:

grannyann said...

I just have no sympathy for some idiot that goes into a cage or area with a wild animal. They know better but just want their 15 minutes of fame.