When you remove wild animals from the vast open spaces they’re instinctually accustomed to and cram them into unnatural, man-made environments, something not-so-good is bound to happen.
Some may argue that at least we’re helping to preserve global species by studying them, attempting to breed them and offering them a far more comfortable existence, but polar bears like Knut and his companion Gianna may beg to differ, along with 75 – 90% of their captive brethren.
The 4-year-old German-born bear, who was hand raised by zookeepers after his mother rejected him, has been a media darling for years, defying the odds by being the Berlin Zoo’s first Ursus maritimus to survive beyond birth in over three decades.
Unfortunately, he and his gal (who share the same bloodline, so no nookie for them) have been going through a rough time as they are experiencing, what is described by scientists, as psychological problems, including panic attacks, chronic stress and mimicking behaviors – as far back as 2008 a noted animal conservationist even labeled Knut “an animal psychopath”.
Sadly, with all of the visitors milling through his enclosure, Knut has now taken to imitating snap-happy individuals with his paws and he also abnormally sways back and forth, one zookeeper even going as far as to suggest that “he identifies himself as a human and not as a polar bear.”
Breeding polar bears in captivity (not to mention countless other exotics) doesn’t seem like the good idea that many once thought it was. What do you think about the idea? Chime in and share your thoughts!