Everyone wants to know what killed Knut (the famous polar bear cub in Germany who died last week). Seems that it was something neurological but I haven’t seen anything convincing yet. PETA is saying stress. Certainly we know that chronic stress causes neurological damage (hello, Robert Sapolsky). But I don’t know enough about the autopsy results to say anything educated here. What I do know is that there is mounting concern over what will happen to him now. The zoo put up a memorial website where people can leave messages. But recently unveiled plans to stuff and mount Knut have caused an outcry and there are already Facebook groups like “Don’t Stuff Knut.” One poster said “We don’t wanna look at a Knut doll with empty soul!!!!” This seems to be the consensus.
Knut reminds me of Gus. Though they don’t really have anything in common except that they are both polar bears and they both live in zoos and they are both famous. Gus lives in Central Park. He has had his own psychiatrist. He has been on Prozac. He is supposedly doing better.
A while ago The Tragically Hip wrote a song about him. The lyrics are amazing.
What’s troubling Gus? Is it nothing goes quiet?
Is that what’s troubling ya Gus the mere mention of the name
used to be enough to make every bird stop singing?
Is that what’s troubling ya Gus? No is afraid enough?
Here’s an older, yet still very interesting article on Gus.
I am also somewhat overwhelmed by the prevalence of polar bear cartoons about mental health. It is, apparently, an irresistible pun.