There are times when the majestic music and the pristine far-off shots of polar bears in the wild can be disarming. Those times are usually found when sitting safely at home on a sofa as the polar bear and sometimes a cub or two frolic in the snow on your television while Noah Wiley tells the world that the polar bear is endangered. But when a woman jumped into a polar bear enclosure in the Berlin Zoo Friday, it was anything but safe.
The Telegraph reported that zookeepers at the Berlin Zoo saved the life of a German woman who jumped into the enclosure. One of the four polar bears became defensive when the woman entered the enclosure, dove into the water after her, and began biting her multiple times on her legs and arms. She suffered serious injuries.
German police say they have no idea why the woman climbed into the enclosure. To get inside, she had to climb a fence, an inner line of prickly hedges, and a wall to get there. A spokesperson stated, “The woman has proved herself to be careless by jumping into the enclosure. Logic tells us that polar bears will do this type of thing in this situation.”
It is believed that the bear attacked because of the presence of a two-year-old cub. Knut, the cub, became an international media sensation when he was born.
But the mauling the woman took is just the latest in animal attacks that clearly show that wild animals are not to be thought of nor treated as one would a domestic pet or some cuddly character seen in the movies or on television.
Back in mid-February, a chimp attacked a friend of its owner in Connecticut. Travis the Chimp had decided he wanted to go for a ride against his owner’s will, so Sandra Herold called her friend, Charla Nash, to help her get him back inside the house. When Charla Nash arrived, Travis the chimp attacked her, tearing her face from her skull and nearly killing her. When he rounded on a police officer who arrived in response to a 911 call, the officer shot and killed the 200-pound chimp.
Charla Nash is now suing Herold.
In October last year, 32-year-old Peter Getz, a handler who had thousands of hours of experience, was mauled to death by a massive liger at an Oklahoma animal sanctuary. The liger, a cross between a lion and a tiger, bit Getz on the neck and back before other handlers could get to him and get the liger to move away from him. He later died from the wounds.
Getz had entered the 1000-pound liger’s cage to feed him, a process usually done by inserting food on the end of a long pole through the liger’s cage bars. Jeff Corwin of Animal Planet said that Getz had broken a handler’s cardinal rule: Never enter the cage of a wild animal, especially when food is involved.