Last December, two polar bear cubs were born to Tosca, a retired circus performer, currently at the Berlin Zoo. Unfortunately the mother rejected them, and to make matters worse, one of them died shortly thereafter. The surviving cub was named Knut, and here's am early picture of the little bugger from the Berlin Zoo's website:
The Berlin Zoo's website has lots of adorable pics of Knut and there's a video clip that's sure to melt any heart.
Wel except one or two.
On Monday, March 19th, animal rights activist Frank Albrecht commented to "mass circulation" newspaper (I guess that's a nice way of saying "tabloid rag") Bild, "Raising him by hand is not appropriate to the species but rather a blatant violation of animal welfare laws. In actual fact, the zoo needs to kill the bear cub."
It's tragic that Tosca rejected Knut, and yes, this sort of thing does happen with polar bear mothers & cubs in zoos, but what was the Zoo supposed to do? Put him down? Release him to the wild? The Berlin Zoo has shown a great deal of care for Knut as evidenced by his keeper, Thomas Dorflein. In Knut's first days, Mr. Dorflein has slept at the zoo to give constant attention for Knut. Mr. Dorflein is a paragon of compassion.
Of course, it would have been best if Knut were rasied by his mother, but as that isn't possible anymore, the Berlin Zoo has made sure that Knut have the best possible upbringing. The key word there is "POSSIBLE." As Knut grows up, he will be a wonderful ambassador for threatened species. He has already drawn a great amount of attention to the Zoo. The Berlin Eisbaren (Polar Bears) hockey team has asked zoo officials if they could adopt him as their mascot. Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz has taken shots of Knut as part of a wildlife conservation campaign.
As far as Frank Albrecht is concerned, I hope he suffers a fate of pain, anonymity, and apathy. That and backing into a woodchipper. Feet first.