AboutZoos, Since 2008


Knut, the polar bear, died in Berlin Zoo

pub­lished 25 Decem­ber 2011 | mod­i­fied 18 Decem­ber 2016

Knut, the polar bear cub that was raised by hand, has sud­denly died in Berlin Zoo, yes­ter­day — 19 March. Accord­ing to sev­eral Zoo vis­i­tors he had a seizure and dropped into the water and died, but this has not been con­firmed by the Zoo’s offi­cials. The cause of death will be estab­lished by an autopsy, which is car­ried out to date. Could it have been stress, because Knut’s com­pan­ions, all females, were not very friendly with him and behaved quite agres­sive towards him. And was this because he behaved dif­fer­ently, due to being raised by hand (his mother rejected him)? Did he became too famil­iar with human beings, and their behav­iour? There has been a huge con­tro­versy back then when he was born. Some said that such a large car­ni­vore species should never be raised by human hands and kept alive, because it was a vio­la­tion of ani­mal pro­tec­tion leg­is­la­tion. I pre­sume it could have dis­rupted his behav­ioural devel­op­ment too, which could have made it hard for him to adapt to polar bear behav­iour when he grew up. Oth­ers said that it would be a waste to kill the cub, because of the dire sit­u­a­tion of the polar bear as a species in the wild, and zoos’ con­tri­bu­tion to species con­ser­va­tion. And per­haps those peo­ple were also anx­ious to keep the cub alive that made them so proud, and sup­pos­edly rich? As it was the first polar bear born on their premises, in their city, since 30 years. Knut was sup­posed to take part in the Endan­gered Species breed­ing Pro­gramme of EAZA. I reckon he was nearly ready for being sent to another zoo for breed­ing pur­poses. What­ever cause there is for his death, let us hope that lessons can be learnt from his life and his death.

UN Biodiversity decade
WWF Stop Wildlife Crime
Fight for Flight campaign
End Ivory-funded Terrorism
Support Rewilding Europe
NASA State of Flux

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
Fol­low me on: