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Old 03-24-2007
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Default Activist to zoo: Wrong to save baby polar bear

Activist to zoo: Wrong to save baby polar bear
Comments fuel debate over whether humans should raise abandoned cub

BERLIN - Berlin Zoo's abandoned polar bear cub Knut looks cute, cuddly and has become a front-page media darling, but an animal rights activist insists it was wrong to intervene and save the cub.

"Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws," animal rights activist Frank Albrecht was quoted as saying by the mass-circulation Bild daily, which has featured regular photo spreads tracking fuzzy Knut's frolicking.

"The zoo must kill the bear."

When Knut or "Cute Knut," as the 19 pound bear has become known was born last December, his mother ignored him and his brother, who later died. Zoo officials intervened, choosing to raise the cub themselves.

The story prompted quick condemnations from the zoo, politicians and other animal rights groups.

"The killing of an animal has nothing to do with animal protection," said Wolfgang Apel, head of the German Federation for the Protection of Animals.

Greens politician Undine Kurth called the suggestion "fully unacceptable." Petra Pau of the opposition Left Party invoked the widely-reported case of an Italian bear dubbed "Bruno" that wandered last year into southern Germany, only to be killed by hunters at the behest of local authorities worried about residents and livestock.

"Berlin is not Bavaria, therefore it will be better for Knut than Bruno," Pau said.

Wrong to kill him now, activist says
Albrecht told The Associated Press that his beliefs were more nuanced than reported by Bild, though he applauded the debate the article had started.

He explained that though he thought it was wrong of the zoo to have saved the cub's life, now that the bear can live on his own, it would be equally wrong to kill him.

"If a polar bear mother rejected the baby, then I believe the zoo must follow the instincts of nature," Albrecht said. "In the wild, it would have been left to die."

The German animal rights organization "Four Paws" argued along similar lines, saying it would not be right to punish the cub for a bad decision made by the zoo.

Other activists have also argued that current treatment of the cub is inhumane and could lead to future difficulties interacting with fellow polar bears.

"They cannot domesticate a wild animal," Ruediger Schmiedel, head of the Foundation for Bears, told Der Spiegel weekly in its Monday edition.

Albrecht cited a similar case of a baby sloth bear that was abandoned by its mother last December in the Leipzig city zoo and killed by lethal injection, rather than being kept alive by humans.

Protection against extinction?
But Knut belongs to the Berlin Zoo, and their veterinarian Andre Schuele, charged with caring for him, disagrees.

"These criticisms make me angry, but you can't take them so seriously," Andre Schuele said. "Polar bears live alone in the wild; I see no logical reason why this bear should be killed."

Schuele also argued that given the increased rarity of polar bears in the wild, it makes sense to keep them alive in captivity so that they can be bred.

"Polar bears are under threat of extinction, and if we feed the bear with a bottle, it has a good chance of growing up and perhaps becoming attractive as a stud for other zoos," Schuele said.

Knut, who recently posed for a photo shoot with star-photographer Annie Leibovitz for an environmental protection campaign, is scheduled to make his public debut at the zoo later this week or early next week, according to Schuele.
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Old 03-24-2007
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Animal Right's people are Kooks!
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Old 04-10-2007
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Default Re: Activist to zoo: Wrong to save baby polar bear

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Originally Posted by Connecticut AACO
"If a polar bear mother rejected the baby, then I believe the zoo must follow the instincts of nature," Albrecht said. "In the wild, it would have been left to die."
!!

Just because a mother rejects her young doesn't mean that there is something wrong with the cub. Maybe she was just a bad mother. Or an inexperienced mother. I think NOT trying to save this endangered animal would have been wrong.

I agree with Wegging, these guys are KOOKS!!

And as far as the "instincts of nature," I ignore them all the time: I turn on the heater when "nature" is freezing outside, I vaccinate my family and pets against various diseases in "nature", I wear a seatbelt to counteract gravity -- a force of "nature", and many days I fight my "instinct of nature" and DON'T pummel bad pet owners.
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Old 04-10-2007
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Default Re: Activist to zoo: Wrong to save baby polar bear

Quote:
Originally Posted by mzk10
And as far as the "instincts of nature," I ignore them all the time: I turn on the heater when "nature" is freezing outside, I vaccinate my family and pets against various diseases in "nature", I wear a seatbelt to counteract gravity -- a force of "nature", and many days I fight my "instinct of nature" and DON'T pummel bad pet owners.
THANK you! I am so SICK of people (e.g., the National Park Service) telling me that we shouldn't rehab wildlife (e.g., abandoned tule elk fawns) but let them die "naturally." So tell me, what the !@#$% is so !@#$%ing natural about a national park full of roads on which the fawn's mother got killed, eh, lads? For every one animal we save to let loose again, 100 die the "natural" way -- hit by cars, or electrocuted on live wires, or chased to death by pet dogs ...

AAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH.

But I will take your example, MZK, and fight that same natural stress-relieving instinct (... to throttle the living daylights out of our local park biologist!)
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