AboutZoos, Since 2008


Knut, the world’s most famous polar bear, died in Berlin Zoo!

pub­lished 21 Decem­ber 2011 | mod­i­fied 23 Decem­ber 2011

Berlin Zoo is deeply sad­dened by the death of Knut, the world’s most famous polar bear. Knut died sud­denly on Sat­ur­day after­noon, 19 March 2011, while being in his enclo­sure alone. His female com­pan­ions already were in their indoor enclo­sure at the time. Accord­ing to the Dutch web­site InfoNu​.nl sev­eral Berlin Zoo vis­i­tors watched Knut hav­ing what looked like a seizure, after which he dropped into the water and died.

Knut was born on 5 Decem­ber 2006 in Berlin Zoo. His lit­ter mate died after a few days and Knut was dis­owned by his mother. He was taken care of by zoo keeper Thomas Dur­flein, who him­self died in 2008 by heart fail­ure. A heated dis­cus­sion arose in Ger­many whether rais­ing a car­ni­vore like Knut by hand was accept­able or not,when ani­mal rights activist Frank Albrecht stated that the zoo was vio­lat­ing ani­mal pro­tec­tion leg­is­la­tion by keep­ing him alive. He was sup­ported by the direc­tor of the Aachen Zoo, who said that the zookeep­ers “should have had the courage to let the bear die” after it was rejected, argu­ing that the bear will “die a lit­tle” every time it is sep­a­rated from its care­taker. So, the dis­cus­sion was whether the polar bear cub should be allowed to live or not. Per­haps, because of this con­tro­versy Knut became a hype in Ger­many and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. “This bear has not only charmed the peo­ple in Berlin, but cap­tured the hearts of many peo­ple all over the world ” said the chair­man of the Berlin Zoo, Frank Bruck­mann, the day after Knut was found dead.

An autopsy is car­ried out imme­di­ately, and as a pre­cau­tion the out­door polar bear enclo­sure remains empty until the cause of death has been established.

As of today a book of con­do­lence has been opened on the Zoo’s web­site for peo­ple to share their con­do­lences. Start­ing Mon­day there will be a spe­cial bank account opened where dona­tions can be made to sup­port polar bear research and the con­ser­va­tion of polar bear habi­tat. Details will be announced later. (Source: web­site Berlin Zoo, 20.03.2011; web­site InfoNu​.nl; Wikipedia)

The pre­lim­i­nary results of the autopsy show dis­tinc­tive anom­alies of Knut’s brain, which could be the cause of the seizure (see ama­teur video below), lead­ing to the death of the polar bear. No other patho­log­i­cal lesions were found. Fur­ther exam­i­na­tions (bac­te­ri­ol­ogy, his­tol­ogy) will be per­formed and require a few more days. Berlin Zoo will report on the final results as soon as these results are avail­able. (Source: web­site Berlin Zoo, 22.03.2011)

Footage of Knut hav­ing a lethal seizure; Please beware, this film con­tains shock­ing pictures

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: