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The Daily Need

Photo: Sudden, sad goodbye to Knut

Knut, the polar bear cub, peeks around the legs of zoo director Bernhard Blaskiewitz during his first public appearance in the Berlin Zoo on Friday, March 23, 2007. Photo: AP/Franka Bruns

Germany’s most famous polar bear, Knut, died unexpectedly in his enclosure in the Berlin Zoological Garden over the weekend. Bear keeper Heiner Kloes told the Associated Press that Knut was not sick and his sudden death is a mystery. A necropsy will be performed today to determine the cause of death. The average lifespan for a captive polar bear is 30 years. Knut was 4 years old.

Knut became a celebrity and star attraction when he was born in captivity on December 5, 2006. He had been rejected by his mother at birth and was hand-raised by zookeepers. After he was presented to the public 15 weeks later, the resulting “Knutmania” brought in what is thought to be millions of euros in merchandising and revenue for the zoo. He even had his photo taken alongside Leonardo DiCaprio by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair.

Approximately 600 to 700 people were watching Knut in his enclosure at the zoo Saturday afternoon when he suddenly began to experience what appeared to be a massive seizure. He spun in circles, began convulsing, fell down and tumbled into the water, where he was found dead. Video of the death had circulated on the Internet.

Thousand of visitors have been gathering at the compound to leave flowers, notes, stuffed Knut toys and candles.

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  • Tinker_toy50

    I Love Polar Bears. I’m sooo sad :(

  • Nella-Maud Castellon


  • Nicky Safavian

    it is sad when any intelligent creature whether mouse of man dies but for something that is endangered to die as a cub….that is where the fine line between emotion and spirit become grey and your whole being just feels utter sadness for such a wonderful creature who like a child depends on us and survival and its very species depends on man to save it from man.

  • Epiphany

    The mother abandoned it at birth for a reason. Animal’s instincts are more sensitive and smarter than ours. They lean towards the survival of the species. Why waste time on cub that wont make it. But in our world we enjoyed Knut for a while. What animal could understand our world? We waste enormous resources on shameless wasteful living and do our best to kill off as many species as we can.

  • Denise F

    This is exquisitely sad. Perhaps the mother knew something about the cub that was unknown to zoologists. Mother nature takes care of her own. We humans need to do a better job of listening. Farewell Knut, rest well.

  • alex mexico

    i have no words! just a shame! knut …rest well! polar bears go to heaven!