Best Zoo Animal

Polar bear

Sure, there were babies born to other, perhaps more cuddly animals this year. And some of those animals have funny names — if you're of the Beavis & Butt-Head persuasion and involuntarily giggle every time you hear the word "ass." But there's only one polar bear remaining at the Saint Louis Zoo. In the wild, the polar bear is solitary by choice. But our bear has had solitude thrust upon it. Half a world from where it belongs, the lone representative of its species — the only bear in the world as far as it can determine. Many people never know the crushing isolation of being the only unmatched face in the crowd. But those who know loneliness recognize a kindred spirit when they see the polar bear. These are the ones — and it's always in ones — who linger by the bear pit, and watch in respectful silence, and walk away at last feeling something more than sorrow.

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