Cute, or Miserable and Crazy?

Critics say bottle-feeding polar bear cub will produce 'a second psychopath'
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2008 11:20 AM CST
A photo provided by the 'Tiergarten Nuernberg' zoo in Nuremberg on Friday, Jan. 11, 2008 shows a polar bear baby being brushed after the evening feeding on Thursday, Jan 10, 2008. The Nuremberg zoo bottle-feed...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Nuremberg zoo's new polar bear cub, cute as she is, is highlighting the sometimes stark and brutal condition the animals face in captivity. Some biologists say the decision to bottle-feed the cub after her mother rejected her—as was done with superstar bear Knut—will only produce "a second psychopath," a bear dependent on humans and clueless about how to interact with her own species.

Polar bears are typically loners, and the constant presence of other bears around them in captivity can upset them, Der Spiegel reports. That may account for the dismal record of breeding the animals in captivity, which was highlighted when the Nuremberg cub was rejected and another mother bear at the zoo ate her own two cubs shortly after their birth.