Zoo takes cub from polar bear mom

Jan. 9, 2008 at 2:49 AM
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NUREMBERG, Germany, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Officials at a zoo in southern Germany have taken a polar bear cub from its mother after another polar bear mother apparently ate her two cubs.

The officials at the Nuremberg zoo said the bear, Vera, was seen carrying her cub in her mouth and behaving strangely, The Guardian reported Tuesday. The 4-week-old bruin will now be hand-fed, the newspaper reported.

The incident occurred as the zoo's staff learned two other newborn cubs, whose mother, Vilma, had refused to feed them, had disappeared. No sign of the cubs were found and it was thought the mother ate them, possibly because they were sick, The Guardian said.

The zoo officials had refused to intervene and hand-feed Vilma's cubs because they wanted nature to take its course and avoid the situation that developed with "Knut," a popular polar bear cub being fed by zookeepers in Berlin.

"We wanted to avoid a repeat of the stupid Knut mania and not rear the animal by hand," said Helmut Magdefrau, deputy director of the Nuremberg zoo.

However, the zoo's decision drew criticism from animal activists and others.

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