Saturday, August 20, 2011
Polar bear in heat
He walks alone
Quebec City, QC, July 2011
Meet Eddy, the Quebec Aquarium's polar bear. He used to have a friend, Tiguak, but she sadly passed away in April. We visited him on a hot - about 30 C, plus humidity - sunny July day, and the paint scheme on the outdoor part of his enclosure notwithstanding, I couldn't help but wonder what he thought of the heat.
He would alternate between wandering inside, popping into his pool for a dip and, most poignantly, pacing back and forth on the ragged edge of the deck. It's hard to tell what he was thinking, of course, but staff members told us he's been doing this ever since he lost his partner.
I know that the raison d'etre of this incredible facility is conservation and education. But the sight of this magnificent, lonely animal pacing behind plate glass on a hot summer day made me more than a little sad. We sent him virtual hugs from our vantage point and hoped it was enough to cheer him up.
Your turn: Animals in captivity. Supporters say we need aquariums and zoos and the like to teach us all about animals, biology, conservation and the planet. Opponents say it's just plain cruel. Where do you stand? Why?