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Knut, Germany’s Famous Polar Bear, Dies In Front Of 600 Visitors – VIDEO

Knut, Germany’s Famous Polar Bear, Dies In Front Of 600 Visitors – VIDEO

Knut, the celebrity polar bear, died suddenly in his compound at the Berlin Zoo on Saturday afternoon, March 19. He waded into the water in his enclosure before having a short spasm and then dying in front of hundreds of zoo visitors.

Bear keeper Heiner Kloes from the zoo said the four-year-old was alone in his compound. He says the cause is not yet clear.

He Was In The Water, And Then He Died

‘He was by himself in his compound, he was in the water, and then he was dead,’ said Mr Kloes. ‘ He was not sick, we don’t know why he died.’
post mortem will be conducted on Monday to try pinpoint his cause of death, he said.

The Daily Mail reports:

The polar bear rose to global fame after he was rejected by his mother when he was born in captivity on December 5, 2006. The fluffy cub was shown to the public 15 weeks later, and attendance at the zoo has roughly doubled since, officials said.

The resulting ‘Knutmania’ led to a 2007 Vanity Fair cover with actor Leonardo DiCaprio shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Though the zoo has never released exact numbers, Knut merchandise including postcards, key chains, candy and stuffed Knuts have brought in hundreds of thousands of euros.

Although Knut was the first polar bear to be born and survive at Berlin Zoo in more than 30 years, his tragic young life was blighted by tragedy from the start. Both he and his twin were rejected by their mother at birth and his unnamed brother died four days later.

Knut’s Amazing Story

That was the beginning of Knut’s amazing story. After spending 44 days in an incubator, he was given to the care of zoo keeper Thomas Dorflein, who spent countless hours with him. The two clearly formed a strong bond.

News of the cub’s miraculous survival was picked up by the world’s media and the young cub became the zoo’s top attraction.

But tragedy struck again before Knut’s second birthday in 2008, when Mr Dorflein died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 44. For several weeks following his keeper’s death, Knut seemed to suffer from constant depression.

And now Knut is gone.

Knut Was Only Four Years Old – What Happened?

The life expectancy of polar bears in the wild is between 15 and 20 years, but animals in captivity can live even longer because they are not exposed to hunger, thirst or infections. So what happened to Knut?

Hopefully we will find out, but meanwhile, here’s a cute video of the young Knut with his beloved keeper:

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Photo credit : Kevin.Ward via Creative Commons

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392 comments

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8:55PM PST on Feb 6, 2012

I voted yes with lots of reservation...polar bears are going extinct, their habitat is melting or being invaded for the quest for black gold (oil). Zoos may be the last resort. At least keep them in a large environment with weather similar to where they have lived, not sent out to swelter in a hot climate.

1:17PM PST on Jan 11, 2012

As I said last year:

"A very sad day. First, the mother who did not want her children, then his brother died (though this was very early in childhood), so his supervisor. From what I understand he has been alone the last 2 years? We humans must soon realize that we can no longer keep on with the overuse of our planet. Much of the tragedies we see today could have been avoided had we taken more into account the animal world and each other"

Also I do not think Knut should be stuffed. Picture Is better........................

11:39AM PST on Jan 11, 2012

Voted 'no!'

5:52PM PST on Jan 3, 2012

Wow who sang the song? It's terrible!
But still, I'm very heart broken about the polar bear dying :'(
It was very cute.

3:04PM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

i don't believe in taxidermy of any kind but thats not the point the point is that polar bears and other endangered species should be breed in wildlife sanctuaries then returned to the wild not in zoos

6:49PM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

It never ceases to amaze me how many people comment without bothering to read the entire article or any of the comments. Clara, if you'd bothered to have scrolled down, you would have realized that there WAS a necropsy (they don't call them "post mortems" with animals) and Knut had epilepsy. He had a massive seizure. I also doubt they "freeze dry" a 1500-lb. animal. I agree with you about Knut being a great "teaching tool", though. I used to be horrified at the thought of Trigger being "stuffed", but then doing so gave thousands of visitors to the Roy Rogers Museum the opportunity to view him in the "after life", who, like me, never got to see him in the flesh.

8:06AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Maybe if the zoo had Knut freeze-dried like some people do their pets, the public may have been more receptive. Above all, a post mortem to discover why he suddenly dies is demanded. Knut's mother knew something was wrong with both cubs and she rejected them for their quick and easy deaths years ago. Animals do this all the time, but we humans have an extra programming chip that instills in us to care for our not so perfect "young-ins". I do not disagree with "stuffing" this 4 year old Polar Bear as he will be one of the greatest teaching tools for humans. Knut gave his all for us, now let us learn from him.

7:35PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

I pray that this beautiful soul (who happened to be born on my birthday) will be allowed to rest in peace. He did his "job" please now let him be. I honestly cannot even say that word that they want to do to him. I cannot believe how completely disgusted I am by the idea of .... (I truly cannot type that word right now). Please just let him rest in peace.

10:27AM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

All my life I have taken rescue animals. I have related to animals since I was born. But also I work with at risk kids, raised kids not my own & in my old age still work with kids. I am very sensitive to human/animal feelings especially since science knows now that the animals brains have the same cells as the human that dictate emotion & pain. If humans have a house/apartment/food on the table, you have more than a kid eating out of garbage cans. If humans have all that love pouring out for a polar bear - direct it towards something positive. The bear was not just a polar bear as a child in the garbage can is not just a child - but both are living things created by God (if you believe in God) and both are our responsibility, to love & show respect to. It seems as if humans are spoiled & cannot relate to human/animal suffering or gay suffereing or womens right suffering etc. I am trying to show you that if a starving child picture moves you - then get involved to help in some small way - if the baby bear moves you - use that love for a positive cause like saving the planet - with all life on it. And yes I do have a sponsored child also. If you can pay apartment rent, then you can sponsor a child, an old person, a rescued animal, etc.

10:10AM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

I am deeply saddened to hear of Knut and his beloved caretaker, Mr. Dorflein, passing away. I remember all this as if it were just yesterday. I hope (no, I KNOW) they are embraced in each other's comfort once again. I prefer NOT having Knut stuffed but, a statue of [both] Knut and Mr. Dorflein more appropriate in thought and spirit.

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