stamp for environmentalism, polar bear Knut

Image via Wikipedia

Sad news today on hearing that Knut, the polar bear born at Berlin Zoo four years ago has died today. At this stage his keepers do not know why he died, only that he was not sick and that he collapsed in front of 600 spectators.

Back in December 2006 Knut caused an international sensation, after the newborn cub was rejected by its mother and had to be hand-reared by zoo staff.After hearing this news I know that my partner ‘P’ will be devastated, as she fell in love with Knut from these news reports.

It has actually been quite a sad 12 months for myself and ‘P’ in regards to zoo animals. Melbourne Zoos Brown Bear Roan passed away in 2010 of old age, whilst their 2-year-old  Pygmy Hippopotamus Monifah also died of unusual circumstances.’P’ and I had visited the animals a number of times over the years and have some really good photos of both Monifah and Roan, so we were both very sad to hear of their passing.

This all makes me wonder whether zoos are the right places for wild animals. It is great to be able to see these animals up close, and many species are losing their natural habitats in the wild due to us, but I still am not sure whether zoos are where these animals should be. I am sure that these deaths are not the faults of the zoos and that the animals in the zoos would probably be healthier than their counterparts in the wild, but it still does not make me think that these animals should be imprisoned just for our amusement. Then again, does this make me a hypocrite because I enjoy visiting the zoo?