Posted by: bridget | 26 March 2008

Tuesday Smorgasbord

Zookeeper totally jealous ofconcerned about the psyche of Knut, the world-famous polar bear.  (Story here.)

“He is addicted to the whole show, the human adulation. It is not healthy…. He actually cries out or whimpers if he sees that there is not a spectator outside his enclosure ready to ooh and aah at him…. When the zoo had to shut because of black ice everywhere he howled until staff members stood before him and calmed him down.”

Ya know, it’s just not normal for mammals to be social.  Heaven only knows what this particular gent thinks about your standard Labrador retriever – you know, those dogs that think their human owners to be their pack members, whimper pathetically when said humans leave for work, and greet their humans with great enthusiasm and tail-wagging when the aforementioned humans return home.   

Hat tip: Tammi.


Some belated Knut news: a few “animal-rights” (i.e. the ones lobbying for his death a few months back) groups claim that he is a “psychopath” and will never mate.  (Story here.) 

 Meanwhile, Knut faces an uncertain and lonely future. The German media like to think Flocke holds the key to his salvation and that she will eventually become his mate. But for most zoologists the idea is pure fantasy. “Knut won’t manage anything with a female bear, I guarantee that,” insisted Dr Arras.

As much as the pachyderm hates to even utter the words, she can’t help but think, “Where are the evolutionary biologists when you need them?”  Won’t the narcissistic psycho-bear be filled with a desire to bed as many comely polar bears as possible, so as to imbue the next generation of polar bears with as much of his genetic greatness as possible?


“The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Condition Awareness Act,” co-sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy and Sen. Sam Brownback. is aimed at educating the parents of disabled children, and, hopefully, helping them to choose life.  (Tieki’s blog post is here.)  Not much new or insightful to add, so the pachyderm will end with this quote from Tieki:

Though I tend to believe that everyone ought to be able to agree that killing any unborn child is wrong, the issue of specifically aborting children merely because they are different or might have a disability should turn the stomach of any human being — pro-life or otherwise.  We reject discrimination in all forms, why should the womb be any different?



  1. I find it amusing that the polar bear wants people to watch him. Reminds me of my children…

    As for the male polar bear not finding female polar bears attractive, maybe a visit to Victoria Secret is in order? Can’t you see a polar bear in one of those things with wings out to each side?

  2. I don’t think it’s so much a matter of Knute finding female polar bears attractive, as that if he has not been properly socialized to other polar bears, he might not be able to give the proper signals to get a female interested in him.

    Sexual selection is one of the mechanisms described by evolutionary biologists, and in some species it can be quite strong.

    As there is already a difficulty getting captive polar bears to “perform”, I guess we’ll wait and see if a polar bear bred in captivity and socialized to humans will be able to attract a mate.

  3. Awww … you blogged Knut! :)

    I think that zookeeper should be fired for his ignorance. Wooptie freaking doo that Knut likes people to watch him! He’s in zoo — all zoo animals should cooperate so well.

    Isn’t he just the cutest bear around? :)

  4. You’ve got to visit my blog Bridget and check out the latest post on Obama. ;-) Read the comments. Please add in your .02 cents.

  5. Won’t he mate if someone watches ? That’s the question.

  6. Theo,

    Well, since TT started it, let me work in a plug for a new entry at my blog I think you might find amusing.

    It is about how once again white males are being blamed for something they have nothing to do with.

  7. Poking my head in… hello, all, and thank you for the comment ruckus. :)

    I’m off to hear a speaker from Feminists for Life. Should be a great – albeit emotional – lecture.

    More later about narcisstic bears. I always thought that women went for the bad boys. ;)

  8. Randy,

    Yeah, but that might be too much white. White bear, white wings, all that. :) Who knows – maybe Knut would find it attractive. I’m not even remotely qualified to discuss what turns males of the human species on, let alone polar bears.


    As there is already a difficulty getting captive polar bears to “perform”, I guess we’ll wait and see if a polar bear bred in captivity and socialized to humans will be able to attract a mate.

    Possibly. This would be “broken home Knut” who lacks good parental role models. :)


    Yes, I did. :) He needs some blog-love.

    Now, you may think he’s the cutest thing in white fur, but one of the news articles described him as dirty and filthy, not a snowy ball of cuteness. Apparently, it’s his fault that he doesn’t get shampooed every day….? Of course, if the zoo staff kept him totally white with Paul Mitchell products, I’m sure that our well-disposed zookeepers wouldn’t have a problem with that, now would they? (Grrr!)


    Good question. Maybe he needs polar bear porn…. (That would also address Teresa’s issue.)

    TT & Teresa,

    Shameless self-promotion is always welcome. :)

  9. Theo,

    I was thinking of “poorly socilized nerd knut”. Most of the nerds I know come from two-parent homes with too many books and not enough television.

    From theo: sounds about right. I think there’s a picture of Knut with a book. That might be another part of the problem. Maybe we ought to get him in a football jersey.

    No thoughts on what makes a polar bear a nerd, though. Roughly half of them managed to reproduce, though, so there’s still hope for old Knut.

    I’d also like to point out that some of the people who object to the way Knut was raised were not calling for his death, but calling for him to be raised in a way that was more conducive to him socializing with other polar bears.

    Ahh… got it.

    We have a number of groups around here (Minnesota) that have been very successful at wild-life rehabilitation (for instance, raising baby Eagles by hand, but in such a way that they do not try to mate with humans when they reach adulthood, raising deer so they imprint on other deer, etc.

    One of the things people seem to have forgotten is that Knut’s mother was a performing bear. Maybe being a crowd-whore is in his blood. :-) Also, it’s possible that being socialized to humans caused her to not recognize her own cubs in the first place.

    Since it’s just one bear, I’m not sure its a tragedy. One thing’s for sure: we’ll learn stuff from this situation that we wouldn’t have learned if they had killed him outright. Wether it will be to Knut’s benfit or not remains to be seen, I guess.

  10. I’d also like to point everyone to a story where the guy blamed most for saying Knut should die claims he was mis-quoted, and was merely drawing legal parallells between Knut’s situation, and another situation, where he sued a zoo for killing another bear cub rejected by his mother.

    theo says: Either say, seems very silly, to me, to kill bears. I mean, we keep hearing that the ice caps are melting….

    Frank Albrecht lost the case of the other bear cub, and was merely pointing out that by the logic of that same decision, Knut should legally be killed (trying to point out the badness of the law.)

    For his trouble, he recieved death threats.

    Blame the media for that one. People can’t speak in sentences that can be taken out of context to mean something completely different. Sigh.

  11. Woops. Here’s the link I meant to post in the previous post.

  12. My male cat will never try to mate with a female, although he lives with two cute girl kitties. Because we had him fixed before he matured. Oh the humanity. (Felinity?)

    They’re fixed too so they don’t care.

  13. Laura – oh, that’s terrible! You have sexually repressed cats. ;) (Kidding, kidding.)

    Ya know, there’s a lot of parents out there who probably wish they could do the same, temporarily, to their teenage sons.

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