Top

blog

Stories

 

St. Louis Zoo Replaces Dead Polar Bears with Electronic Proxies

Okay, so the story in today's business section of the Post-Dispatch is mostly about how a company that sells holiday decorations is opening an office in downtown St. Louis. (Yes, exciting!)

But the real news is the photo (below) that accompanied the story.

electricpolarbear.jpg
Post-Dispatch, Section B1, 11/13/2009

If you'll recall, the zoo hasn't had much luck keeping polar bears in recent years. The zoo's last polar bear, Hope, was euthanized in April when veterinarians found it had cancer.

In May 2005 another polar bear, named Churchill, ate a fatal helping of cloth and plastic inside its bin and died while undergoing stomach surgery. Five weeks later, a polar bear named Penny died at the zoo from infection. Turns out, she had two dead fetuses inside her uterus, though zoo officials didn't know she was pregnant.

So, what's the solution to those problematic real polar bears and their pesky habit of dying?

This week employees with James Trogolo Co. installed a family of electronic polar bears in the zoo's empty polar bear display. Technology wins again!



My Voice Nation Help
42 comments
balthazorro
balthazorro

Oh no!  I am sure that the zoo will get real animals back in due time.  If so, I wonder if they will place them in the same exhibit as the electronic proxies?  If so, how will the real bears react?  free samples by mail.

cardinals2011
cardinals2011

why would they act like there are real polar bears there when they are just fake when the people just want to see the bears in real life?

Hava  O'Bryan
Hava O'Bryan

You are a jerk. What's next? Fake people? Sincerely,Hava O'Bryan

Hava  O'Bryan
Hava O'Bryan

you are a jerk! whats next? fake people?

Canaduck
Canaduck

Zoos are ridiculous and if you think otherwise you should consider hanging out in a cage--in a crappy, fake habitat--for your entire life.

--New Age PETAfag vegan or whatever you were calling it

lou
lou

BREAKING NEWS , ROBOTIC POLAR BEAR PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUE DATE UNKNOWN

lou
lou

BREAKING NEWS , ROBOTIC POLAR BEAR PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DUE DATE UNKNOWN

chris
chris

If humanity wouldn�t fuck up the nature with their habbits like resourcewasting living and no care for nothing the animals would have a better life in their natural place at all :-(

Tory
Tory

To Maggie,Animals have no voice, their lives are serious to them, and that is why people have to speak for and help them. If an animal has sacrificed its life to superficial entertainment(with no room and constantly screaming kids), the least it deserves is retirement to a sanctuary.

Merry
Merry

This zoo is not rated one of the top in the country - its on the 10 Worst list by In Defense of Animals, mostly because of the wretched state of the elephants in such cramped quarters (for an elephant), especially in winter. Pearl with her prolapsed uterus should have been sent to a sanctuary years and years ago. The pain they put poor Clara through for years with her decayed feet because of being on the zoos hard surface and no place to walk/roam was inexcusable.

Maggie
Maggie

Seriously!? All this discussion about holiday lights?! Get over it!!! There are more serious things to complain about.

Ken
Ken

Only in STL can you go to a zoo and see fake bears. Normally I would say it is just plain stupid, but in STL it works. Ya know, it just fits. I can't wait to see the new Reindeer exhibit. I understand they went to K-Mart and bought some of those light-up plastic lawn ornaments complete with Santa and asleigh.

TH
TH

That last line: "Technology wins again!" ?? Motorized fake animals are from the 50's. How about some medical "technology" and advanced science from this century showing we are using these zoos to learn about animals and how to preserve the species better their future in the wild. I think anyone involved in that decision needs to be replaced.

donna
donna

It's spelled KNOW, not now...

Anonymous
Anonymous

how does bears know what apples is?

Vix
Vix

The zoo could have prevented the death of the pregnant polar bear with bimonthly vet checkups they're supposed to have for large mammals. But then again it could have just been an accident. Most zoos would have known she was pregnant by just observing her daily behavior. Maybe this zoo's keepers should have paid more attention to their animals.

Some zoos really are just prisons for animals, exploiting these amazingly beautiful creatures to make their money. Some of these zoos are some of the most advertised, and on the surface everything seems fine to the American public, but really, behind the scenes its not so majestic as the animals they house. Many zoos do not provide the vet care or the attention needed to keep some of these wild animals in captivity.

Other zoos are doing their job in educating the American public about the importance of wildlife. They do a fantastic job with their breeding programs and extensive research learning more about Earth's wildlife. Props to them. :)

I'm no animal rights activist, but this issue of dying polar bears really bugs me. Its a shame we lost 3 of them in just a matter of a few months. Hopefully the zoo will learn from this and start paying more attention to their animals do we don't have this happen to any other species.

ROFLSTUPIDBEARS
ROFLSTUPIDBEARS

dude... polar bears are awesome... but the PETAFAG should probably take a valium enduced nap... maybe half a bottle.

Otto
Otto

This is probably a ploy by the Coca-Cola corporation.

Seriously, it's only a matter of time until they have Santa hats and Cokes in their paws.

deborah
deborah

I vote Yes to robot wildlife : )

ChriSTOPherson
ChriSTOPherson

...Blade Runner?! Wow, the sci-fi retro-future is almost now.I'm gonna get me an owl!

Bald zombie
Bald zombie

Sadly, this is the future of many animals in zoos. The fact that these polar bears died in captivity only adds insult to injury because even in the wild, the polar bears are dying at an alarming rate.

I was at the Museum of Natural history not too long ago, where they have many extinct animals on display...the animatronic bears in the zoo are not too far off from the dried out stuffed dodo birds at the museum...

Sad.

Guest
Guest

"Also, way to spice up your comments with "PETAfag" and "new age vegan pussy", guys. Stay classy."

Will do. B]

thad
thad

soon zoos as unnatural and confined as they are, will be the only safe place for such animals.

unfortunatly our greed and consumption of retarded stuff is destroying our ecosystem and ending the existance of those beautifull animals.

Anonymous
Anonymous

"Isn't it time we just gave up on zoos? To keep animals in a confined, unnatural space in an inhospitable, alien climate for our amusement seems pretty antiquated - no, make that barbaric. What are we teaching here? Respect for the animals? Or are we teaching that it is OK to be cruel to living creatures?"

Dear sir,You are a one-sided idiot who can only view things one way. It is more than for simple amusement, fool. Please remove yourself from earth. This is no longer 1850.

thank you

Sincerely,The Rest of Us Who See Value in Zoos

sk
sk

Also, way to spice up your comments with "PETAfag" and "new age vegan pussy", guys. Stay classy.

sk
sk

Well, when the polar bear is extinct, this is what we can look forward to in every zoo in the world. St. Louis gets a sneak preview.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Zoos put animals in front of children that they may never see otherwise, these experiences leave lasting impressions that inspire conservationism across generations. Surely, every effort is made to provide the animals with a adequately comfortable living environment. It hardly seems cruel - sure its not freedom but its not like they abuse the animals.

Also, stop being such a new age vegan pussy.

Guest
Guest

So does TJ not keep any pets at home? Does he not know the affection of an animal companion or is he a bitter old PETAfag? I'm sure the animals at the zoo have some sort of empathic connection with the keepers, and maybe even the visitors. It'd be, as you say, barbaric if they didn't care for them like they do. If it were up to people like you, poor Hope would be still suffering from cancer.

I was actually at the zoo two weeks before Hope died, and she was pretty active then.

Anyway: strange enough I live here in St. Louis and I hear about this on The Daily What. I'm appalled at this practice of placing anamatronic animals in place of real ones. Just leave the habitat empty.

Anonymous
Anonymous

To TJ:

Are you freaking kidding me? Barbaric? Zoos are some of the safest places for these animals. Especially ones like polar bears that are becoming exstinct. Not to mention the fact that a lot of zoos are now breeding these animals to set free into the wild. I don't see cruelty at all in the efforts of these zoos! You, my friend, need to do a little research in that area.

TJ
TJ

Isn't it time we just gave up on zoos? To keep animals in a confined, unnatural space in an inhospitable, alien climate for our amusement seems pretty antiquated - no, make that barbaric. What are we teaching here? Respect for the animals? Or are we teaching that it is OK to be cruel to living creatures?

Chad
Chad

My fiance works with the bears at the zoo. David, I don't know if you are aware but you can't exactly walk a two ton wild animal into the doctors office for some x-rays. The keepers are not allowed to be in the same part of the habitat as the bears for obvious reasons. They can only observe from about the same distance as visitors. So to say that they should have had regular exams isn't fair to the zoo staff. They are doing their best and consistently being rated in the top three zoos in the country surely reflects the work they do.

david karapetyan
david karapetyan

This is ridiculous. They should have taken better care of the enclosure and they should have done health exams more frequently to make sure none of the live bears had any health issues. It's just sad that 3 bears had to die before they figured out a "cheaper" solution.

hw
hw

The story of the polar bears dying is SAD. Hopefully the Zoo can create a nice new, safe environment so new bears can come live here in st. louis. The polar bears are one of my favorite parts!! : (

Anonymous
Anonymous

I, for one, welcome our new robotic polar bear overlords.

cardinals2011
cardinals2011

We are keeping the animals in zoos to keep most of them safe from the dangers of being out in the wild and if you cant except that then just dont go to the zoo is all i have to say.

Cassidy
Cassidy

The Saint Louis Zoo is actually a really good zoo.  From the ones I've been to they go through the most trouble to make sure that the habitat is as close to their natural habitat as possible.  They are helping preserve some of the endangered species that may go extinct if not for places like them because of over-expansion into their natural habitat and because of hunters etc. 

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...