How could we not plug the new, adorable polar bears at the Saint Louis Zoo? After all, we are all about the zoo of the future, and this zoo exhibit is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Instead of flesh-and-blood bears, the zoo is currently displaying electric proxies, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
A study out of the University of Oxford determined that polar bears fare especially poorly in captive situations. These large, roving predators develop neurotic behaviors because of stress when kept in captivity because they are unable to satisfy their instinct to roam. The report noted that “a polar bear’s typical enclosure size, for example, is about one-millionth of its minimum home-range size,” and the authors concluded that “the keeping of naturally wide-ranging carnivores should be either fundamentally improved or phased out.”
The Saint Louis Zoo has a miserable record of polar bear “care.” Four years ago, a polar bear named Churchill ate a toxic meal of cloth and plastic and died during his subsequent stomach surgery. Just one month later, the polar bear Penny died from infection. She had two dead fetuses inside her uterus, though zoo officials didn’t know she was pregnant. Hope, the zoo’s last surviving polar bear, was euthanized earlier this year after veterinarians discovered she had cancer.
We’re hoping that the zoo maintains its merry instillation year-round, making every day a cause for polar bears to celebrate. And if they decide that the still-lives don’t quite cut it, we’d love to see the zoo invest in animatronic bears that look and act like the real things.
Written by Logan Scherer