A bear cub, rejected by his parents at a zoo in Switzerland and subsequently euthanized by the zoo, is making a reappearance – as a stuffed animal. The Dahlholzli Zoo in Bern put down a bear cub recently because its mother rejected him and the father was bullying him. Now, the zoo plans to display the taxidermy creation to teach zoo-goers a lesson in cruelty – not that the zoo itself took malicious actions on the young cub as some have suggested, but that “nature can be cruel.”
CNN reports that the zoo “decided to put down the bear cub after its father, named Misha, mauled its sibling to death and threatened to do the same” to the baby bear, known as only "Cub 4."
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."
So the zoo announced that Cub 4’s deep-frozen remains would be handed over to be stuffed and displayed in some sort of exhibit, designed to make a point that family relationships in the wild can oftentimes be perceived as pitiless, when in fact it’s just nature taking its course.
Doris Slezak, head of the zoo’s education department, said: “Nature can be very cruel and that’s something we want to show kids. We think that it’s right that this bear still has a function after his death, and it will help people to understand nature.”
While the stuffing of the bear cub may be seen as somewhat morose given the fact that the zoo put the cub down, critics are attacking the zoo because the cub’s mother and father were both hand-raised, but then the cubs were not. Not only was the same protective raising not offered to the cubs, but the zoo deprived the parent bears from understanding how another bear is to care for them. As a result, Cub 4’s parents disowned and abused him.
Reports the New Zealand Herald:
In the wild, female bears normally protect their young by driving away the father after giving birth, and Swiss animal protection groups slammed the zoo for keeping them in the same enclosure.
The Wild Animal Department of Swiss Animal Protection issued a statement, condemning the actions of the zoo and stating that zoo officials acted “irresponsibly” in their care of the bears.
“Bears are loners and need room, and in zoos, there are already too many brown bears,” the statement read. “Letting the two get pregnant was wrong. You can't leave wild animals in captivity to ‘nature.’ Whoever keeps them must take responsibility for them.”