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Swiss zoo kills healthy bear cub: Says teaching children 'nature can be cruel'

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The Dahlholzli Zoo in Bern, Switzerland euthanized a healthy bear cub after the father became jealous of the attention the mother bear was paying to the cub reported Independent.co. This week the zoo plans to send the baby bear's body to a taxidermist stating that stuffing the bear with its own hide, fur, and bones as "animal materials" will teach children how "nature can be cruel."

Misha, the father bear of the cub, only known as Cub 4, had mauled the other bear cubs of mother bear, Masha allegedly because of jealousy. In a media release from the zoo, officials stated they were not going to interfere in the "natural behavior" of the bears, but instead of Cub 4 having to suffer as Misha mauled it, zoo officials euthanized the cub.

Ironically, in the wild, mother bears fight off the father bears to protect their cubs. Harsh criticism has followed this decision to kill the healthy cub, with experts and scientists calling the zoo acting "irresponsibly" even allowing the bears to procreate.

The Wild Animal Department of Swiss Animal Protection stated there are too many brown bears in zoos, and "whoever keeps them must take responsibility for them."

The zoo maintains that separating the bear parents would cause severe behavioral issues. Since then Misha has been sterilized to avoid future problems.

According to Fox43.com newspaper Berner Zeitung reported in April that the zoo received a flood of public comment after Cub 4 was killed.

“Bears are loners and need room, and in zoos, there are already too many brown bears. Letting the two get pregnant was wrong. You can’t leave wild animals in captivity to ‘nature,'" stated Sara Wehrli, head of the Wild Department of Swiss Animal Protection.

The killing of Cub 4 just adds to the controversy and general disdain people have been feeling for zoos and the apparent lack of respect for wildlife. In February, the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark euthanized a healthy 18-month-old giraffe named Marius, using a captive bolt because his DNA was too close to other giraffes, and contended it was the zoo's responsibility to avoid inbreeding. Following that intense controversy came another healthy giraffe also named Marius in danger of being killed; this time for population control.

Read that story by clicking here.

And in March, four lions including two lion cubs, were killed with the zoo citing the reason that they were making room for a new lion.

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