by Ali Berman
Categories: Animals
Tags: .
Photo: roxeteer

Knut, the world famous polar bear, died on Saturday at the Berlin Zoo at the age of four years old. About 600 to 700 people witnessed his passing while viewing the exhibit. The cause of death is unknown.

Zoo bear keeper Heiner Kloes told The Associated Press, “It was a completely normal day: He was with the female bears before, who had just been shut away. Then, Knut strolled around the enclosure, went into the water, had a short spasm and died.”

An autopsy will be performed on Monday to find the cause of death.

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the bear since his mother rejected him in 2006. He was raised by a human surrogate, became a symbol of global warming by appearing on a Vanity Fair Cover with Leonardo DiCaprio, and has brought in millions of dollars for the Berlin Zoo.

In 2010 it was reported that Knut was experiencing panic attacks, chronic stress and mimicking behaviors. Keeping animals in man made enclosures for public entertainment always has its cost on the animal’s well-being. However, the average polar bear in captivity can live for 30+ years. Knut was still just a teenager.

Many people adored that bear and are mourning his death. We’ll find out more tomorrow after the autopsy.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at aliberman.com. In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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  • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

    KNUT was the wet dream of any ZOO coming true.
    10$ say the ZOO will skin, stuff and exhibit him !!

  • LittleMe

    At least he won’t suffer any more. Sadly, the same cannot be said about the countless other animals throughout the world forced to live in such an unnatural environment solely for entertainment.

  • Karina

    The zoo motto: we lock animals up in unnatural habitats and drive them to insanity.