June 20, 2011
To the editor:
Kenda [The EcoTarium’s polar bear]’s death is a heartbreaking reminder of the profound injustice in keeping these complex, free-ranging animals in captivity. This polar bear never stepped foot outside of a concrete icebox from the day she was born until the day she died.
Polar bears thrive in enormous Arctic expanses and open water — which no zoo/science center can provide.
Try to imagine living in the same cramped place for the rest of your life. Polar bears, who are genetically designed to roam and swim over vast distances, are no more able to adjust to lifelong captivity than we could.
A study conducted by Oxford University researchers concluded that large, roving predators show stereotypic symptoms of stress when kept in captivity, because they are unable to satisfy their instinct to roam. The researchers cite polar bears as an example of a species that does especially poorly in captive situations, and the report found that a polar bear’s typical enclosure size is about one-millionth of its minimum home-range size. Children learn nothing about who polar bears really are by seeing them in a cramped, artificial environment. Continue reading Please! No more Polar Bears for Worcester!