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Baby Polar Bear in Nuremberg Zoo Is Being Bottle-Fed

babybearzoobottle.jpgLast year, the plight of cuddly Knut in Berlin Zoo caught the world`s attention. A similar story is now repearing itself in Nuremberg Zoo.

Initially, the zoo officials were adamant that the polar bear cubs born last month not be hand-reared. Instead, they would let nature to takes its own course in case the mothers reject them and simply leave the baby animals to die. The reasoning behind this seemingly heartless decision is quite rational. This is the only way the the first-time mother bears can learn so that they will know better the next time around. The zoo`s stand was reported in the latest issue of the science magazine Nature.

Well, it seems that the zoo officials had a change of heart. Their efforts to keep the media and public attention way from the issue failed. Due to strong public opinion, they were forced to interfere and are now bottle-feeding one of the still-unnamed cub that survived. A baby-bear-naming contest is being organized.

Actually these are not the first time that polar bears gave birth in captivity. But zoo officials in the good old days could do as the please. Nowadays public opinion counts a lot especially if zoos want to increase their revenues and sponsorship.

As a scientist, I see the point of the “natural” way. As a mom, I feel a lot for the abandoned babies. I say, why don`t we simply leave these animals in their natural environment where nature takes care of its own?

Source:
Zoo`s abandoned polar bear cubs `will be left to die.` Nature January 2008 vol. 451 p.121


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