Zoo Will Let Polar Cubs Die, Rather Than Raise by Hand

Nuremburg doesn't want 'Knutomania'
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2008 6:06 PM CST
US heiress Paris Hilton holds toy polar bear Knut, named after the polar bear in Berlin Zoo, during a promotional event in Berlin on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007. As opposed to Knut's celebrity, Nuremburg...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Officials at a Nuremburg zoo have vowed not to rescue the cubs of two polar bears who gave birth about a month ago, even though one is showing signs of disinterest in her offspring, leaving them to cry plaintively for long periods of time. Zoo officials say they don't want to replicate "Knutomania"—the public obsession with Berlin's celebrity polar bear orphan, reports Der Spiegel, and will let the cubs die rather than intervene.

"If something goes wrong, it goes wrong," said the zoo's deputy director. "If you don't let the mothers practice, they'll never learn how to bring up their cubs." Knut, who was hand-reared by zookeepers after being abandoned by its aging mother, is about to become the subject of an animated movie.