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Zoo kills baby bear, plans to stuff it to teach children 'nature can be cruel'

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Move over, PETA. You’ve just been bested (worsted?) by a zoo in Switzerland.

CNN reports that the Dahlholzli Zoo in the Swiss city of Bern has announced that it killed a healthy bear cub but and now plans to stuff the carcass and display it so children can learn that "nature can be cruel."

According to a media release, the zoo initially decided not to interfere with the bears' "natural" behavior.

But when it was observed that the mother, Masha, had begun neglecting Cub 4 and that the father was roughing it up too, zoo staff decided in April it would be kinder to kill the youngster.

This week, the zoo announced that the cub, whose remains were deep-frozen, would be thawed out and handed over to an expert taxidermist to be stuffed.

I don’t suppose it would have occurred to zoo officials to segregate the cub from its abusive parents and “hand raise” it instead. As an added irony, Cub 4’s parents were both “hand-raised” by zoo personnel.

Sara Wehrli, head of the Wild Animal Department of Swiss Animal Protection, says the zoo acted "irresponsibly" by allowing the parents of the slain cub to mate in the first place. She told the daily newspaper Berner Zeitung:

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.'

PETA, short for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has come under fire for its guilt-inducing billboards aimed at children. One of these, which depicted a turkey with a housecat’s head, carried the caption “If you wouldn’t eat a cat, why eat a turkey?”

As for the Swiss zoo’s “lesson,” I for one think its move is successful. Humans, after all, are creatures of nature, too, and as this incident shows, nature can be cruel.

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