Environment

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Flocke the German Polar Bear Cub Faces Uncertain Future

April 10, 2008 11:19 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Concerned groups argue the hand-reared Flocke will develop an unhealthy dependency. Celebrity bear cub Knut has, some say, grown into a disturbed adult.

30-Second Summary

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Flocke, which means “flake” or “snowflake” in German, was rejected by her mother and is being raised by zookeepers.

Her story is drawing comparisons to Knut, another polar bear cub abandoned by its mother. Knut drew worldwide media attention after debuting at the Berlin Zoo. He even appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair.

Both cubs have their own Web sites, and Flocke has already been appointed a lawyer “to protect her interests,” according to British newspaper The Guardian.

According to another U.K. paper, the Independent, German Zoologist Peter Arras said Knut had grown into a “psychopath” and “a problem bear who has become addicted to human beings.” Some scientists fear that Flocke will meet the same fate.

Flocke’s media debut has also called attention to the debate over global warming, the threat to polar bears’ sea ice habitat and the pending decision over whether the United States should list polar bears as “threatened.”

According to the New York Times, a year-long study to determine whether polar bears should be protected under the Endangered Species Act found that two-thirds of the polar bear population will be gone by 2050 as a result of global warming.

A decision is expected before early summer, according to CBC.

Headline Links: Flocke

Background: Knut, the cuddly bear turned 'psychopath'

Related Links: Controversial marketing and humanizing of polar bears

Related Topics: The decision to list polar bears as 'threatened'

Opinion & analysis: The global warming debate

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