St. Louis Zoo Exhibits Electronic Proxies in Place of Dead Polar Bears

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St. Louis Zoo officials have set up electronic polar bear proxies in their currently vacant exhibit, and reactions have run the gamut from the confusion of children to celebration by PETA. The electronic polar bears will be featured in the zoo’s upcoming holiday Wild Lights exhibit, but the dark side of the matter is that they are a grave reminder of the dead polar bears who formerly resided in their place. Let’s hope the electronic versions fare better than their endangered counterparts on the zoo’s watch.

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Deceased polar bears of the St. Louis zoo include Hope, who was euthanized in March of this year due to liver cancer, and Churchill and Penny who died in May 2005 — Churchill during stomach surgery to remove a fatal helping of cloth and plastic he ate inside his bin, and Penny from an infection — and she had been pregnant with two cubs which was ascertained by zoo officials only after her death.

The layers of social commentary on the installation of fake polar bears at the St. Louis zoo are endless. Polar bears have become iconic imagery with relation to the effects of global warming. Could this be a grim glimpse into what the future holds for zoo exhibits — electronic animals in place of an extinct species? This reality may not be far off for future generations, as only 81 polar bears remain in American zoos.

PETA announces that they “couldn’t be more thrilled” with the St. Louis Zoo’s new fake polar bear exhibition. While there’s no word on whether officials will keep the bear-y merry installation up once the holidays are over, PETA hopes they invest in animatronic versions that look and act like the real thing, while leaving the majestic creatures to roam free in their wild habitat.

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4 Responses to “St. Louis Zoo Exhibits Electronic Proxies in Place of Dead Polar Bears”

  1. forestpenguins says:

    It makes me so sad when PETA attacks zoos. Obviously, the idea situation is wild animals in their natural habitats, but because humans have destroyed most animal habitat, the majority of zoos are now breeding endangered species, caring for rescued animals that could not survive in the wild, and educating the public in the hopes that someday there will be enough natural habitat restored so that animals may be returned to their habitat. It is human nature that we care for and protect what we know, and when zoos help children fall in love with wild animals and nature, they are planting a seed for those children to care about the planet and the species who share it. I have seen firsthand the incredible amounts of love and care given to animals by their keepers in accredited zoos. Instead of being divisive, PETA could recognize the good work that zoos do for conservation and help educate the public that the real enemy is not the accredited zoo that does everything in their power for each and every animal in their care, but habitat loss. Conservationists need to stop the in-fighting and work together.

  2. Jasmin Malik Chua says:

    When did the zoo become Chuck E. Cheese?

  3. ABQdocentforthefuture says:

    This should be a a good reminder to PETA, that this is what all Future zoo’s will look like if they were to get their way and abolish all Living zoo’s. The damage We have done to or are doing to the planet, these Wonderful Animals will no longer be “Roaming Free in there natural habitat” Because there wont be any left in the wild. Do they (PETA) not understand what zoo’s do??? Every AZA Zoo is all about Conservation of the planet and the Animals who inhabit it. They strive to breed ONLY animals who are the the CITES list, they do not breed just for the sake of breeding. It is the only way to preserve these great beasts and others for future reintroduction to there natural habitat. Is this truly what PETA wants? Electronic Zoo”s!! How Sad!! We as HUMANS have created this mess now we have to try and correct it but not by putting Electronic animals in zoo’s.

  4. zardoz says:

    who wants to go to the zoo and see mechanical animals. leave the robotics to disneyland.

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