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Stop the Spread of Zoo Zombies

Written by PETA | July 27, 2010

This film educates its audience about polar bears—and the animals don’t seem to mind that they’re being spied on. Not so in the case of the video below: Shot by a giggling zoo visitor, it shows how polar bears suffer in captivity (so much so that some animals are given mood-altering drugs) and how naïve zoogoers misinterpret the animals’ neurotic behavior.



The typical enclosure for a polar bear at a zoo is a mere one millionth the size of a polar bear’s minimum home range in the wild.

And if the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre has its way, more bears will be taken captive. The center’s plan is to seize polar bears from the wild in Manitoba and dump some of them at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg and others at zoos around the world. The export of polar bears from Manitoba was stopped in the 90s after animals were found languishing in all sorts of places—even, as PETA discovered, in a Mexican circus. But now, some are determined to resurrect this cruel practice.

And others are determined to stop it: John Youngman, a lawyer and former president of the Zoological Society of Manitoba, wrote this enlightening commentary. Every sentence underscores how misguided the center’s plan is, but I think my favorite point might be the following: “As for educational value, the only substantive thing a polar bear in captivity teaches kids is that it’s okay to ruin an animal’s life for our viewing pleasure.” Or maybe it’s this: “There is no ‘conservation’ value in capturing wild polar bears and putting them in zoos. Nor is there any known program for successfully rehabilitating orphaned or captive-born polar bears back into the wild.”

Tell us which point in Youngman’s piece you think hits the hardest, and if your local zoo houses polar bears, please ask it to phase them out. As long as there is a demand for keeping these animals captive, the industry will look for ways to abduct them from their homes.

Written by Karin Bennett

Commenting is closed.
  • Hanny says:

    You cant honestly think that they dont give the polar bear a pool and a cold climate!? We’re all making assumptions here. And you can take any little girlboy and they would think an animal dancing around is funny. They aren’t ignorant they dont know that the polar bear is drugged. A lot of animals are taken to zoos to hep them.

  • yannick says:

    i Could have sworn i saw something like this on ” Happy Feet ” only diffrence… in that movie the people actully did something. only this is the real cruel world.

  • Julia says:

    I feel so bad for these helpless animals confined in zoos. My family and I have countless debates about whether zoos are okay or not. Of course the topic of “they help teach people about animals” RIGHT is said. I’m sure animals in the wild neurotically circle their heads around and pace back and forth.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I recently read a book entitled “The Zookeepers Wife” which illustrates the utter helplessness of animals in zoos even if their keepers are concientious caregivers. The book tells the story of the human and nonhuman inhabitants of the Warsaw Zoo in WWII. During the bombing of Warsaw the zoo took a direct hit and the polar bear enclosure was destroyed. The polar bears in their panic escaped and were running to escape the bombs and German soldiers shot and killed the bears in spite of the keepers pleas to let them capture them and get them to safer quarters. Later the director of the Berlin Zoo confiscated the more valuable animals that were still alive including a baby elephant whose parents had been killed in previous bombings and attacks and took them to the Berlin Zoo which of course was destroyed by the allies at the end of WWII whereupon a Nazi Officer named Lutz Heck who was also the director of the Berlin Zoo organized a shooting party in the Warsaw Zoo during which he and his friends hunted and shot the remaining animals. The zoo directors lived at the zoo with their small son and they kept him inside that day so he would not see the slaughter but the boy kept asking who was shooting. With no animals at the zoo the zookeepers wife used the zoo with it’s now vacant enclosures and barns to hide Jews from the Nazis.

  • amber says:

    heck it makes me sick to see any animals in a zoo or anything that takes animals out of there natural habitat . Why should animals suffer just because of some humans ignorence? Like its like there pimping them out to a crouwd . Why pick on them just because they don’t speak in way we can’t understand

  • Martha says:

    I don’t understand why the people pay to watch these poor animals in captivity. If the people want to watch them they should buy videos from animal planet or discovery channel and support the guys who spend months researching the animals behavior and let us know how wonderful they are

  • cassandra says:

    I decided to go to a zoo a month ago to see if what peta was saying was true. I was so absolutely appalled by all the conditions the animals were living in. It made me so angry. I am not an expert on polar bears but he seems to be very neurotic and stressed. I will never go to a zoo again i rather see animals in their natural habitat and not one that is a poor replica not even half the size.

  • Anna Virgini says:

    It feels so bad to watch the video about this poor polar bear moving up and down do to lack of space and stimulationand been in constant stress and live such sad life!But mostly for me what makes me mad it is the ignorace of people watching the p.bear and not understand what it is really going on!!!Stupids.

  • Mary says:

    In response to Daniel There is a lot that can be done to stop this from starting petitions if you know of a zoo where this is taking place to writing to people in authority you may even want to include some quotes from John Youngman see above. Peaceful protest such as signs and what not in a public place or even outside your house where they can be seen so others are aware. If the idea of changing these massive multinational minds against keeping polar bears seems unrealistic you might wish to write to them to encourage as others have said above that they give the animal a more realistic way of life a larger encosure with maybe a cool water area and some toys to show just a little respect for the animals life. It seems that humans have lost all sense of what is right these days there is so littel respect for life of any sort whether it be trees in rainforests polar bears and in some cases even our own kind. Lets not lose hope eh?

  • Tammy says:

    It’s sad that people think this behavior is funny instead of thinking ‘this animal is mentally damaged from being locked up in here’ o


    Stop stop stop this inhuman behaviour with animals. They are also a part of our society. God has also given them the equal right to live. So you have no right to take their lives. Vaibhav Gupta

  • Jennifer Mele says:

    Yeah the stupid girl is worried about “wasting video”! What about that poor beautiful Polar Bear that is being forced to “waste time” in that zoo?! It’s not entertaining at all to watch such a majestic solitary creature being gawked and laughed at!

  • Solun says:

    I wonder why people say that zoos are important for childern because they need to see real animals. But this is not reality its artifical and unnatural.

  • daniel says:

    im already well aware but thank you karin for educating others about this but i cant see what we can do as long as you have a tourist industry and global warming there will always be those who will try to attempt to justify why keeping these poor animals in such confined spaces is right. If you have any ideas of how we can change this please do say.

  • Kimberly Beck says:

    The poor thing that is so sad…

  • ruthie holt says:

    How can all these Zoo expertskeepers not see that these creatures are having adverse mental reactions to such closed in captivity? Why is this allowed to happen?