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Polar bear Knut's body on ice four months later

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Photo: DPA
12:27 CEST+02:00
More than four months after his untimely death, the corpse of Berlin's beloved polar bear Knut is still on ice, media reported this week.

Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) are still investigating the virus that killed Knut. Meanwhile researchers at Berlin's Natural History Museum are still looking for the right way to preserve Knut's body for exhibition, Berlin daily BZ reported.

Knut died on March 19 by drowning after collapsing in his enclosure due to a virus that caused brain inflammation. Shortly after his death, the Berlin Zoo, where Knut spent his short four-year life, and the Natural History Museum, sparked outrage when they announced plans to stuff the bear's corpse and put it on display.

It now appears unlikely that Knut fans will be able to see the body before at least next year because experts are taking their time to ensure any exhibition is sensitively handled.

“We don't want simply to put him up,” said Peter Bartsch, head of the collections department at the museum. “We are thinking intensively about an intelligent conceptual design.

“The display of the animal's body would conceivably be in reference to a particular setting, for example the ice age and the polar caps.”

Meanwhile, Knut's corpse continues to rest in a freezer. A special fluid is preventing the decay of his remains, allowing for the delay of the actual preparation of his body for display.

The Berlin Zoo, which came under heavy fire after Knut's death for supposedly wanting to exploit his remains for commercial benefit, has no say in the preparation of a Knut exhibition, Bartsch said.

A smaller sculpture of Knut is being considered for the bear enclosure at the Berlin Zoo, BZ reported.

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The views of Knut's fans, many of whom were furious about the plan to stuff his body, are being taken into account by the Natural History Museum, Bartsch said. A global internet campaign and even local demonstrations at the zoo expressed the outrage of many fans after Knut's death.

During his four-year life, Knut attracted more than 11 million fans to the Berlin Zoo.

The Local/djw

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