A fight has broken out over the remains of Knut, the Berlin Zoo's beloved polar bear. Knut — abandoned by his mother, and raised by humans — died last month at age four. Zookeepers now plan to stuff him for a museum display. Dozens of angry protesters have held vigils in front of the zoo's polar bear enclosure, and they are vowing to block the taxidermy, calling it an affront to the memory of their favorite bear. Is it really wrong to stuff an animal that some people are so attached to?
This is a shameful act of greed: What a disgrace, says Diane Keeney at Death + Taxes. Knut was "raised by the hand of man," and became a bona fide celebrity, once "gracing the cover of Vanity Fair" next to Leonardo DiCaprio. He deserves "the finest funeral" possible. Instead, his "money hungry" former handlers are just trying to prolong the profits they derived from his fame, by making a sideshow of his corpse.
"Don't stuff my Knut: Ode to a polar bear"
Back off. Knut was just a bear: It's understandable when people express such "overwhelming emotions" after the death of a human being, says Berhard Blaszkiewitz, the Berlin Zoo director, as quoted in The Independent. But there's something not quite right about getting so worked up about an animal. Knut was "just a polar bear, a special polar bear, but a polar bear all the same."
"Berlin Zoo tells loyal Knut fans to get stuffed"
The zoo has itself to blame for this mess: OK, considering the disaster in Japan and the turmoil in the Middle East, "the uproar about the stuffing of Knut might be seen as so much indulgent hand-wringing," says Kristina Chew at Care2. But Knut, in his brief life, "came to mean a lot" to the many people. And the zoo itself stirred up this enthusiasm in the first place, in an attempt to sell millions of dollars worth of Knut accessories. It's too late to snuff out those emotions now.
"Should Knut the polar bear be stuffed and displayed in a museum?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Pope Francis' American problem
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
Subscribe to the Week