Is it getting stupid in here, or is it just me?
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 94 17:32:14 PDT
Subject: Is it getting stupid in here, or is it just me?
[A refreshing example of putting logic ahead of species loyalty... -psl]
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<forwards bitten off>
Alaskans rally around polar bear that mauled 2 people
Copied w/o Permission from
Lawrence Eagle Tribune
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP)- A polar bear that chewed on a couple of folks
may seem an unlikely cult hero. But this is Alaska, and, well, things
are different here.
Not that people don't feel sympathy for those nursing their wounds,
it's just that Alaskans think you get what you deserve when you act
stupid around a wild animal - even one that lives in a zoo.
"I feel sorry for the people who got hurt, but in both cases it was
their own fault," says Sammye Seawell, director of the Alaska Zoo in
Anchorage, where Binky the polar bear lives.
The first problem arose in July, when an Australian tourist paid a
high price for venturing too close to Binky's cage.
The woman was climbing over the second of two safety rails to get a
close-up photo when the 850-pound bear stuck his head through the
bars and grabbed her in his jaws.
She escaped with a broken leg and bite wounds. Another visitor caught
the scuffle on videotape, including a shot of Binky pacing around his
pen later with the woman's red and white running shoe in his mouth.
That attack spawned a T-shirt featuring Binky, the shoe and the words
"Send more tourists - this one got away."
Alaska shook its collective head and chalked the mauling up to
tourist naivete. The woman later earned a measure of local respect by
admitting she was at fault and promising not to sue.
Six weeks later, the 20-year-old bear was back on the front page. Two
Anchorage teenagers decided - apparently after a long night of
drinking - to take a dip in the pool Binky shares with his furry
Police say the pair snuck into the zoo and were stripping down in
front of the cage when Binky showed up and locked his jaws onto one
The teen was pulled away by his friend, but not before Binky had left
him with leg injuries. Both teens face trespassing and underage
Since then, it's been take-no-prisoners Binkymania.
There are jokes - "The state won't be asking for any jail time for
the kid - it already has its pound of flesh."
There are more hot-selling T-shirts - "Binky for Governor: Take a
Bite Out of Crime." There is music - a local comedy revue worked up a
rap song by "Bad Blood Binky" that includes the lines "Drink a case
of Bud and act real cool - Like a teenage mutant brain-dead fool."
There have been editorial cartoons - one shows Binky saying to Nuka,
"Mauled teen-ager, my butt - how about 'Hero bear prevents youth from
And there have been letters to the editor of the Anchorage Daily
News. Lots of them, all pro-Binky.
"When foolish people place their name on Binky's dinner menu, we
should have the decency to allow Binky to eat his entire meal, in
peace," one said.
Another encouraged zoo keepers to set aside a day for people to come
and play with Binky if they want to: "This program would solve two
problems. The food bill for Binky would be reduced and the test
scores for our schools would certainly rise."
Zoo director Seawell says she's gotten more than 100 letters from
around the world, and not one of them blamed the bear.
To protect the bears from the visitors, the zoo has erected two
strands of electric wire outside the cage and installed a motion
detector that blares an alarm.
------- End of Forwarded Message
© 1994 Peter Langston