The zoo must kill the bear," said spokesman Frank Albrecht. "Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws."
When Knut was born in December, his mother ignored him and his brother, who died. Zoo officials intervened, choosing to raise the cub themselves.
But Albrecht and other activists fret that it is inappropriate for a predator, known for its fierceness and ability to fend for itself in the wild, to be snuggled, bottle-fed and made into a commodity by zookeepers.
They argue that current treatment of the cub is inhumane and could cause him future difficulties interacting with fellow polar bears. "They cannot domesticate a wild animal," added Ruediger Schmiedel, head of the Foundation for Bears.
The charity cites a similar case of a baby sloth which was put to sleep after being abandoned by its mother last December in the Leipzig city zoo.
Got that? The "animal protection laws" mandate the killing of this noble animal. Can't you mouth-breathing NASCAR fans see that? Are you so full of McRibs and Twinkies that you can't hear Gaia screaming at you to kill that recently unendangered bear, you Friends-watching, Wal-Mart-shopping, Enquirer-reading Bush voters?