23 February 2016
The Born Free Foundation and our partners in Scotland OneKind have hit out at plans by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) to embark on a captive breeding programme for polar bears at their zoo in the Highlands of Scotland.
Chris Draper, spokesman for the Born Free Foundation on captive wild animals, said: “A breeding programme for captive polar bears at Highland Wildlife Park is likely to be, at best, ineffective in terms of securing wild polar bear populations. Let’s face it, the battle for the Arctic ice and the fragile and complex ecosystem in the region is not going to hang on breeding a handful of polar bear cubs in captivity in Scotland. I am convinced that the public are becoming wise to zoos’ spurious claims that they have a genuine and substantial role to play in conservation.”
“Polar bears in captivity across the world face a miserable existence, in my opinion, as evidenced by the very high levels of abnormal behaviour and infant mortality. These are sophisticated, intelligent predators with unique requirements, and their natural biology – which includes roaming over vast home rages of tundra and ice, utilising a range of complex behaviours to find food - is wholly at odds with a captive environment.”
So, what is the alternative? Well, since 2001, the Born Free Foundation has supported a polar bear conservation project based around Churchill on Hudson Bay, Canada. You can help us to support the conservation of wild polar bears by adopting them here.