German Polar Bear Saved from Mother

January 16, 2008 | By Matt Van Hoven | Category: Strange But True | 726 comments
Tags: strange but true

PASSAU, Germany – A polar bear cub living at the Nuremberg zoo has been saved by zoo officials following outcry from the public. The cub's mother had apparently already eaten two other cubs and was behaving “nervously,” indicating it may eat the third.

Initially, zoo officials announced that they would allow nature to take its course – and if the mother decided to eat the third cub they would not step in.

The German public responded fervently against that decision and asked why the bear wasn't being saved like Knut – which is another polar bear living in Germany who was saved after its mother abandoned him.

Knut has since received international notoriety, and will even be in an upcoming movie.

So amid the public backlash and erratic behavior by the mother, during which it was carrying the cub around in its mouth and dropping it, zoo officials decided to intervene.

Now the staff will hand-raise the bear, which is roughly five-weeks-old. It's sex isn't known, but once it is, citizens of Nuremburg will be asked to submit name suggestions.

Following a vet check-up, the cub is said to be healthy despite being dropped by its mother.

The decision to save it was controversial. Reports from zoologists studying wild polar bear behavior indicate that due to a lack of food some have been found eating their cubs. Scientists say receding ice caps mean the bears have less ice to walk on to access seals and penguins – hence the cannibalism.

Obviously, the mother bear in this case is well fed by the zoo, but this behavior is not unlike that of its wild cousins. Definitive reasons for the bear's behavior are not known. However, another mother bear living the zoo that gave birth at the same time also ate her cubs soon before this case occurred.

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Comments (448)

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Katie M.

Katie M.
5 years ago

How sad for the other cubs.

Good Point | Reply ›

Cindi K.

Cindi K.
6 years ago

sad story for the cubs that lost their lives, not sure why animals do this but they do it for a reason. maybe had it not been locked up it wouldn't have done that.

Good Point | Reply ›

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