A Swiss zoo, the Tierpark Dahlholzli, killed a brown bear cub last week claiming this was the only way to protect it from its “jealous” father — but was it?
The bear cub, called Baby Bear 4, and its twin, Baby Bear 3, were born earlier this year to Misha and Masha, brown bears given to the Swiss zoo by Russia in 2009. On April 2, Misha mauled and killed Baby Bear 3. While it is the case that male bears often see their cubs as rivals, the zoo still kept the baby bears in the same enclosure.
In the wild, female bears usually drive the male ones away from the cubs. Misha and Masha, who were orphaned after their mothers were killed by poachers, were raised in the Tierpark Dahlholzli by keepers. Living in captivity, Masha lacked any maternal instincts toward her cubs.
Zoo staff refused to separate Baby Bear 4 from the adult bears even after its twin was killed in front of visitors. When Misha started acting aggressively towards Baby Bear 4, a veterinarian killed the little cub. The zoo said this was a better option than raising Baby Bear 4 in solitude.
Tierpark Dahlholzli staff say they will now sterilize Misha. Why didn’t they consider this option for the captive bear earlier or follow the example of another Swiss zoo, which placed a male bear in a separate enclosure from a female one and their two cubs?
Tell the Tierpark Dahlholzli to review and revise its breeding policies. Two baby bear cubs just didn’t have to die.
You can sign the Care2 petition here