Fuse #8

Friday, March 23, 2007

Animals That Should Have Their Own Picture Books, Part ... somethin'

Here is my nightly schedule Monday - Thursday during the week.

11:00 - Watch Daily Show
11:30 - Watch Colbert Report
12:00 - Post blogs for next day

Well recently said schedule paid off when Colbert approved of the German animal activist who wanted to see a baby polar bear offed because his mother rejected him. Colbert fears bears, yet even he was cowed before the scampering of this little guy.

The sensationalist aspects of the story do make me wonder how credible it really is. Is the fellow calling for cubby's death a reliable source or just a single nutter? When any paper talks about a group en masse, be librarians "everywhere" objecting to Lucky or animal rights activists in general, you have cause to be suspicious.

Regardless, you could probably make a children's book out of the original story in and of itself. Take one adorable animal:


Add in tragedy, i.e. rejected by his own mother.
Voila, instant children's book.

The trick here is to keep Hollywood's hands off this story. I don't wanna have to deal with a film in which an adorable baby polar bear is threatened by evil animal activists. No thank you, sir.

Thanks to J.L. Bell for the link and idea.

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At 10:10 AM , Blogger Jennifer Schultz said...

No. It's only a very, very small handful of individuals (two at the most) who are saying that the Berlin Zoo should not have saved the polar bear cub. The head of the German Animal Protection League does not agree with them.

Polar bears are in serious crisis due to the polar caps melting, and the Berlin Zoo has not had a polar bear cub in 30 years, so he is very special to the zoo. He also has rock star status in Germany.

Knut's case is not that unique. Female animals, for various and sometimes unknown reasons, reject their babies, and zookeepers step in to raise them. This is nothing new. Or the baby is orphaned when it is still dependent on its mother. I know more about giant pandas than polar bears, so I'll throw in this. Giant panda twins are not uncommon, but it is also not uncommon for the mother panda to reject one panda. Panda cubs are extraordinarily tiny and helpless at birth, and the mother is constantly holding it, licking it, nursing it, etc.

In the wild, one twin cub is usually left to die. If the twins are born in captivity, the keepers will switch the twins between the mother and the nursery, in the hopes that she will accept them both and nurse them both. This has happened at the panda national parks in China, and I've never heard anyone suggest that one panda twin should have been left to die.

Zoos have nurseries for this very reason.

Zoos and animal activists do not always have the same outlook. Some animal activists are very much against zoological parks.

A polar bear born in the zoo will already be very different from a polar bear in the wild. Zoos are a sad necessity due to humanity's treatment of nature. As Jeffrey Bonner, director of the St. Louis Zoo says, endangered animals are safe in zoos, but they are not truly saved.

And when a bear cub, whether it be a polar bear, giant panda, sloth bear, etc, is rejected, it is a grave concern for the zoo. It is a heartbreak for the zoo. None of them desire to hand raise an animal, because they will be the first to say that that is not natural. It also demands an enormous amount work. Knut's zookeeper has lived at the zoo since his mother rejected him and his twin died, because baby bears require a tremendous amount of care, whether its from a mama bear or a human.

Even though rejected animals may be hand fed and raised by humans, they will always retain their wildness. Soon enough, Knut and his keeper will be separated.


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