Swiss Zoo Puts Down Bear Cub 'To Spare It From Bullying'

This bear cub has been put down by a Swiss zoo, because it was apparently being bullied by its father.

The cub was one of the twin cubs who had been born in mid-January to father Misha and his partner Masha, two brown bears who had been donated to the Dahlholzli zoo in the Swiss capital, Bern.

Both cubs are now dead.

In the wild the female bear will typically drive away her male partner in order to protect her cubs after giving birth, the reason being that the males very quickly see cubs as rivals and might attempt to kill them.

Although this was known to the zoo they did not separate the mother and two cubs, and zookeepers came into hefty criticism when the male Misha, weighing in at 360 kg, had killed one of the cubs in front of the public.

Despite cries of outrage the zoo defended its position, saying that they stood by the decision to give the cubs a natural upbringing by raising them together with their parents, and that if they were separated it would lead to "massive behavioural disorders".

They stuck by that policy even after the first cub was killed, leaving the second cub in the cage.

After seeing that the father bear was also attacking the second cub, instead of backing down on their policy and separating the two, they decided to simply put the baby bear to sleep.

They said the decision was to spare the cub any more distress at the hands of its father.

Zoo Puts Down Bear Cub 'To Spare It From Bullying'

But the Swiss Animal Protection group said that the zoo had massively mishandled the situation and added that they condemned what had happened in the strongest possible terms.

A spokesman for the group said: "It is not natural to keep the male bear with the offspring, and there was more than enough space to have kept him in a separate part of the cage."

The outrage over bear cub's death follows the killing of giraffe Marius and a lion family in Copenhagen zoo.