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:
Photo credit : Kevin.Ward via Creative Commons