Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Story of Knut

Knut is a baby polar bear born in captivity in the Berlin Zoo. For some reason, Knut's mother rejected him and he had to be adopted and taken care of by humans. The clip below shows him in all his cuteness and glory. And now, animal rights activists are asking the zoo to kill him, because he will never be able to lead a normal polar bear life. In the wild, they say, he would already be dead.

"Raising him by hand is not appropriate to the species but rather a blatant violation of animal welfare laws," animal rights activist Frank Albrecht told the mass circulation newspaper Bild, whose front page headline Monday read "Will Sweet Knut Be Killed by Injection?"
Berlin Zoo is allowing Knut to be raised in such a way that the bear will have a behavioral disorder for the rest of his life, Albrecht believes. "In actual fact, the zoo needs to kill the bear cub," he adds.

He's not alone. Wolfram Graf-Rudolf, director of the Aachen Zoo, told the newspaper, "I don't consider it appropriate for the species that the little polar bear is being raised on a bottle." The animal will be fixated on his keeper and not be a "real" polar bear, he says. However he feels it is now too late to put Knut out of his supposed misery. "The mistake has been made. One should have had the courage to put him to sleep much earlier."

Watch him interact with his human father: it is heartbreakingly cute.

Update 22/3/07: I replaced the clip with a new one, much shorter and less repetitive.

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