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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!




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