Thursday, July 19, 2012

R.I.P. Bärle

My friends and family always tease me because I can't watch animal movies without crying, even if I've seen it a million times and know there's a happy ending. Well, if they think I'm bad when it comes to movies, they should see me now. Normally we like to share happy and fun news with you, but today's news broke my heart. I am saddened to share with you that one of The Detroit Zoo's 4 Polar Bears has passed away.
Photo Credit: Betsie Meister, Detroit Zoological Society
Bärle was the eldest of the Zoo's Polar Bears and was the mother of one of the youngest, Talini. According to CBS Detroit (WWJ), she was "born in the wild in Manitoba, Canada, but was captured as a cub and lived most of her years as a performing circus bear. She was rescued from the Suarez Brothers Circus in Puerto Rico and brought to the Detroit Zoo in 2002." 

That's one of the most amazing things about the Detroit Zoo. So many of their animals are rescued from horrible situation, and sometimes near death. The lions, some of the bears, and most if not all of the seals, just to name a few of the many. These creatures were put into horrible situations, mostly because of humans. Luckily there are some wonderful people and organizations out there, like our zoo, that rescue these animals and make the rest of their life as enjoyable as they can. 

As a member of the Detroit Zoo, and someone that goes there frequently, The Arctic Ring of Life is one of my favorite exhibits, and for that matter, favorite places to go. Of course on most summer days, the tunnel is packed. But, occasionally one is lucky enough to get the tunnel to themselves or share it with just a few people. It is one of the most amazing places. The seals seem so happy and when the bears are in for a swim, it is simply amazing. 
I remember years ago, entering the Arctic Ring and seeing images of Bärle with her young cub on the television screens. I was told that it was very difficult for Talini and her mother to separate, as they would at a certain age in the wild. It just breaks my heart to think of her and the other Polar Bears today. 

I'm sure by now many of you are thinking that I'm a crazy person. Maybe I am. I absolutely love animals though, most days more than humans. And the Detroit Zoo is a hidden gem that many Metro-Detroiters take for granted. I urge you to take a day to go visit the zoo again. If you haven't in a while, I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised. Personally, I suggest that you should all become members of the zoo. For $65 you can get an Individual Plus pass, if you live in the Tri-County area. This means for an entire year you get in free, plus you can bring a guest of your choice for free every visit and you get free parking and discounts at some of the stands. When you have a membership, it's a great place to drop by for an afternoon walk and you don't feel like you need to spend the whole day there to get your money's worth. Plus the money is going to a great cause! The Detroit Zoo and all of the animals that live there! 

I'm so thankful that The Detroit Zoo was able to rescue Bärle and help her enjoy the rest of her life. We're all so lucky we got a chance to see her and be amazed.


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