Death of Knut the Polar Bear re-opens zoo debate

The untimely death of Knut the Polar Bear in Berlin Zoo at just 4 years of age has re-opened the debate about zoos. Wildlife holidays experts Wildlife Worldwide offers trips to see the magnificent beasts in the wild, in Canada.
By: Mick Thompson
 
 
Magnificent polar bears!
Magnificent polar bears!
 
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March 23, 2011 - PRLog -- The tragic and premature death of Knut, the polar bear cub born in Berlin Zoo, has reignited the vociferous debate over keeping animals in captivity. In the wild polar bears live to the age of thirty or more despite the hostile environment, whereas Knut was just over four years old – although the cause of his death has not yet been established.

Comments Chris Breen, Founder of Wildlife Worldwide: “This is a very sad story but it raises legitimate questions about the future of zoos.  They have improved beyond all recognition from a few decades ago but Knut would almost certainly have lived a lot longer in the wild.  The same can be said about whales being used to entertain crowds in US theme parks; their lives are cut desperately short and the only place for them is in the ocean.    

“Zoos can play useful roles – breeding programmes for endangered animals for example – and not everyone is afforded the luxury of being able to travel vast distances to see them.   But, ideally, the best place to witness these beautiful creatures is in their natural habitat.”

The small town of Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson’s Bay in Canada is the polar bear capital of the world. Here, between mid-October and mid November, bears congregate along the shore, waiting for the temperature to drop. Once the sea freezes, they take to the ice floes to hunt seals. If it doesn’t freeze, the bears are deprived of the opportunity to hunt – and go hungry.

Specialist tour operator Wildlife Worldwide offers opportunities to see polar bears from close to in a comfortable Tundra Buggy on its Classic Polar Bears small group trip. These purpose-built, heated vehicles with an elevated outdoor viewing platform allow you to spend an entire day out in the national park in complete safety with a knowledgeable naturalist guide.

Prices start from £4235 per person for a seven day trip including flights, transfers, five nights’ accommodation and most meals, with three days of bear viewing.

Special offer: Bookings made before 01 May on the following departures in 2011 qualify for a discount of £650 pp (subject to availability): 12-18 October, 19-25 October, 20-26 October. Trips can be purchased ‘land only’ for those who would rather source their own flights.

For further information call 0845 130 6982 or visit www.wildlifeworldwide.com.
 
Wildlife Worldwide is committed to preserving the natural environment and minimising any negative impact on local cultures through education, conservation, sustainable development and socially responsible practices.  Donations are made direct to a variety of charities and environmental causes through Wildlife Worldwide’s holidays.
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