SWITZERLAND – A zoo in Switzerland is the latest to be embroiled in controversy, after it not only killed a healthy bear cub but will now stuff and display it to teach children that “nature can be cruel.”
Details of the fate of the baby brown bear, known only as Cub 4, come on the heels of outrage over the killing by Denmark’s Copenhagen Zoo of a young male giraffe named Marius and four lions.
The Dahlholzli Zoo in the Swiss city of Bern said it decided to put down the bear cub after its father, named Misha, mauled its sibling to death and threatened to do the same to 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.
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.
The hide has been separated from the body and will be tanned and the body measured for a mold.
Explaining the process, the zoo said it considers it central to learning that animals are experienced in as natural a condition as possible, including contact with “animal materials” like hides, bones or fully stuffed creatures.
It added, “An emotional experience takes priority, which brings nature closer to the children with all its facets — ‘nice’ or not — and makes them tangible.”