Award-Winning Video Depicts Behaviour of Polar Bears in Captivity, including Footage From Brno Zoo

The Word Press Photo winning project “The March of the Great White Bear” depicts polar bears in artificial habitats, including footage recorded in Brno Zoo in 2014. The project raises public awareness of the dilemmas related to captive animal programs. Photo for illustrative purposes. // Credit: Freepik.

Brno, Jan 14 (BD) – The video features short scenes that seem like loops, as the animals exhibit highly repetitive behaviour. According to the project description: “These videos are not looped: they are based on the ‘stereotypical behaviors’ (endless repetition of a fixed sequence of movements) of polar bears in captivity, recorded in 17 enclosures worldwide.”

Such behaviour can be the result of a life in captivity that does not “satisfy the animals’ normal behavioral needs”, or psychological distress. “However, it should be noted that these stereotypes do not necessarily correspond to poor welfare at that time — it can stem from poor welfare in an earlier stage of the animal’s life,” added the project’s authors.

From the footage recorded in Brno Zoo in 2014.

“The March of the Great White Bear” by Taiwanese director Sheng-Wen Lo won the third prize in the Word Press Photo 2018 Digital Storytelling Contest in the “Short Form” section.

The video has appeared recently in the Czech media, having been first reported by the Czech daily (“Na odstrašující podmínky ledních medvědů v Brně se přišlo díky World Press Photo,” Jan. 6), and has met with a negative response on social media.

The Word Press awards (2018 Photo Contest and 2018 Digital Storytelling Contest) were announced at the Awards show in Amsterdam in April 2018.V

Video: The March of the Great White Bear (2017) from Sheng Wen Lo on Vimeo.

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