May 24, 2019

Star polar bear Knut dead at only four

RIP Knut 2006-2011

Berlin Zoo’s famous polar bear, Knut has died suddenly in his enclosure in front of hundreds of horrified onlookers.

In his heyday Knut was an international star, peddling his cuddly, fluffy looks on magazine covers, movies and merchandise. Knut would have to be the most famous (and exploited) polar bear of modern times.

Polar bears in the wild normally live for around 15-20 years. In captivity they live even longer. Just why Knut died suddenly at only four will hopefully be determined by an autopsy being carried out on Monday.

Berlin Zoo bear keeper Heiner Kloes said “He waded into the water in his enclosure before having a short spasm and then dying in front of hundreds of zoo visitors.”

His death was met by an immediate outpouring of sorrow. As the news of Knut’s death spread through Berlin, more Knut fans showed up at the zoo, assembling in front of the bear compound to mourn his loss.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit called Knut “the star of the Berlin zoo.”

Abandoned at birth on December 5, 2006, along with his twin brother, who only survived a couple of days, Knut first attracted attention when his main caregiver, Thomas Doerflein, camped out at the zoo to give the button-eyed cub his bottle every two hours.

Doerflein cuddled and played with him at daily public appearances to the delight of thousands of people who came to watch. Fuelled by the internet and network media, Knut’s fanbase became global.

At the time of his death Knut was no longer the cute fluffy cub of 2007, weighing in at over 200 kilos. RIP Knut.