One of the most popular polar bears in the world was found dead in Berlin on Saturday, March 19. He was four years old.
It was a long road for the polar bear known as Knut. After being rejected by his mother in 2006, Knut was raised by zoo keepers, and his story attracted worldwide attention. No polar bear born in Berlin had survived infancy in over 30 years, but Knut made it. He was welcomed by adoring fans and his popularity skyrocketed. His fame landed him on the cover of Vanity Fair, and his presence in Berlin increased zoo attendance considerably. In 2007, at the height of “Knutmania,” the Berlin Zoo had its most profitable year in the zoo’s 163 year history.
According to MSNBC, the cause of this very sad death is not currently known, though an autopsy is underway. Knut was said to be swimming alone in his enclosure when he passed away. According to German news agency DAPD, several hundred people were watching Knut when he died. We will remember you Knut.
flickr image via thorbengeyer