Slash was marvelous at falling asleep suddenly
in the strangest positions.
Knut the German Polar Bear
Knut’s short life (only four years) had been wrecked with controversy since his birth, and so it is not unexpected that greater waves of controversy have erupted since his death. All this has brought zoos under severe public scrutiny, with huge uproars over the cheap exploitation and poor welfare of the captive animals.
Baby Knut with his Keeper, Thomas Dörflein
The Berlin Zoo isn’t helping matters. Not with their announcement of their intention to stuff the bear for public display with the flimsy excuse that it would allow Knut’s fans more time to say their goodbyes to him. Many are outraged, and rightly so. This is clearly a distasteful exploitation of the public’s love for the polar bear to earn the zoo more profits.
At such a time, the Berlin Zoo needs to be sensitive towards the feelings of the public and to handle such an emotional affair with delicacy, respect and class. I understand the zoo's need to keep the money coming in, but to be so obviously money-driven at such a time is being myopic. If the Berlin Zoo does go ahead with the taxidermy, it will be a PR disaster for all zoos and more so for the ones that are doing good work in conservation and welfare.
So I say to the Berlin Zoo, please leave Knut’s body alone. Rather than taxidermy, why not set up a gallery of his films and photos? That would be enough for fans to pay tribute to the polar bear they have already given their hearts to.
You will be missed, dear Knut
*Update: Neurologists have confirmed that Knut suffered an epileptic fit that then caused him to fall into the pool and drown. They suspect that his father may have passed on a brain disorder to him. What that brain disorder is has yet to be determined.
Whenever an episode on one of the big cats comes on the telly, that’s it. I sprout claws and embed them firmly into the couch. Nothing will move me away from the flashy screen until the show is over.
Therefore, as an ardent devourer of big cat documentaries, I feel that you can trust me when I say that the best of these are created by Dereck and Beverly Joubert.
Dereck and Beverly Joubert are award-winning filmmakers from Botswana
Of all their films, my absolute favourite has to be Eye of the Leopard. It tracks the dramatic life of a 3-day-old leopard cub named Legadema for three years. Before this film, I never realised how swift and and agile leopards are in trees. The way these large, heavy beasts weave through the branches like little squirrels is a magnificent sight.
The mesmerising Lagedema
The most moving segment in this film has to be where Legadema kills a female baboon and stumbles unexpectedly upon her baby. Against our understanding of the viciousness of nature, Legadema picks the baby baboon up and begins to mother it.
National Geographic's Eye of the Leopard
You must now be wondering… So what happened to the baby baboon? Did it survive?
My words will do no justice to this tale. So I will just say, please watch this film to experience the roller-coaster of emotions and breathtaking visuals it will take you through.
Right now, I cannot wait to catch the Jouberts’ newly released film, The Last Lions.
It is about a lone lioness named Ma di Tau (“Mother of Lions”) and the unbelievable obstacles she has to overcome to keep her cubs alive. From an enemy pride of lionesses to hungry crocodiles and dangerous buffaloes, the struggle to survive is brutal.
PS. If you would like to contribute towards the big cat conservation, please click here and choose how you would like to help. Every small bit of effort will go a long way in protecting these amazing animals.