by sara
Categories: Animals
Tags: .

Thomas Dörflein, surrogate father to everyone’s favorite polar bear, Knut, passed away yesterday. Seriously ill for some time, Dörflein was 44.

When Knut was rejected by his mother, Tosca, in 2006, Dörflein provided care for the cub 24/7, even sleeping in the same cage with him. Just last year the zoo decided to split the pair on the grounds that it was simply too dangerous for the zookeeper to play with the now-600 pound bear.

While some animal rights activists denounced the “adoption” and said the bear would be better off dead–and that he currently shows signs of disturbing behavior–I applaud anyone who would devote so much time and energy into saving another living creature like that. Dörflein was awarded the Medal of Merit by the city of Berlin for his efforts in raising little Knut.

What do you think? Should Knut have been raised differently, or at all, by humans?

  • Sibi

    That’s sad, he had all my respect for what he did with Knut and he seemed like such a good person. RIP :(

  • Emily

    I agree with Sibi. And after the successful raise/release of the Hugging Lion (the one that’s getting it’s own movie) surely people can see that most animals raised by humans are loved and well-cared for. Nothing is better off dead when a loving home is an option.

  • Harshita

    I am feeling very bad for Thomas Dorflien who had raised Knut. May his soul rest in peace.

    Love is precious whether it is between humans or animals. But pet’s reciprocative love is very unconditional. They have powerful 6th sense and Knut would have known this . He must be feeling very miserable…

  • Daniela

    I feel very sorry about the lost of such a great man. I can’t understand why activist say such unreal things. The love that raised between those two living beings was so intense and woke up love feelings in every one of us. Some people better have to learn about this deep friendship and respect ….
    I’m sorry for Thomas Family, it was surely a great father, for Knut and his children !!
    Rest in peace dear Thomas

  • Bruce

    We have a moral obligation to help all life, whatever it may be. We did the correct thing to raise Knut, and we as caretakers must continue to raise him throughout his life.

    Thomas Doerflein and the entire Berlin Zoo did good, and he/they should be commended. His life was far too short.

  • Gypsy

    This history is devastating. My deepest condolences to his wife and family. He will be living in our hearts including Knut’s, poor thing, he may be missing him a lot.Thomas showed the power of love between a man and a beast.
    God bless them both.
    Rest In Peace our dear Thomas

  • biondini

    a special man.what a wonderful example to pass on to a world that needs more of this type of person, at this time in our history.

  • Gypsy

    He expressed his love in every movement of his hands and face, his tender eyes. He looked like a humble and shy man. They were made for each other. Why?? why he was grabbed from life so violently? He was given the unique mission to raise Knut before leaving this world and Knut filled his last moments with joy and unconditional love with his little boy behavior. Isn’t this amazing and indescriptable? I feel very sad for Knut and for Thomas family but He is in Heaven now, watching over Knut and proud of his little boy. R.I.P. Thomas.