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Autopsy searches for clues to Knut's untimely demise

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Autopsy searches for clues to Knut's untimely demise
Photo: DPA
18:47 CET+01:00
Vets on Monday began an autopsy on Knut, the Berlin Zoo's beloved polar bear, as fans left flowers, candles and poignant messages to mark his untimely demise.

However, it remained unclear when the results from the examination of Knut, who was found lifeless in the pool in his enclosure on Saturday afternoon, would be published.

"I cannot give you a timeline. We will inform the public when we know what the exact cause was," spokeswoman Claudia Bienek told news agency AFP.

Knut first shot to fame as a cute cub after being abandoned by his mother and reared by hand.

Devastated fans on Monday left bouquets of pink and red roses, tulips, messages of love, photos of Knut and even a croissant to mark their beloved's passing at the zoo.

"You left us completely unexpectedly, at a moment when televisions the world over are showing images of war and catastrophe," read one message from a fan who added that Knut "brought such joy and harmony in the world."

Bienek said there were currently no plans to erect a memorial to Knut, but zoo director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz said on Monday there might be a small statue in the polar bear enclosure.

"Maybe of Knut when he was a baby," he said.

But Blaszkiewitz also said he could imagine having the bear stuffed and displayed in Berlin's Natural History Museum.

Photobucket

Click here for a Knut photo gallery.

Bienek said in the meantime a "book of condolence" had already been set up for fans to record their memories of the bear.

"I've been blubbering for days," said one entry of the 1,700 left online.

"I am in complete despair over the death of our polar bear Knut. I cannot put my grief in words," wrote another fan.

Once Knut grew into a strapping adolescent and then adult, animal welfare groups began to worry that he was displaying abnormal behaviour because of all the attention. He would sway to and fro and even imitate people taking photos by lifting a paw to his face.

An amateur video showing Knut's final moments has been posted to the internet. After walking in repetitive circles for some time, he seems to have a seizure before collapsing into the water in his enclosure.

The video could be disturbing to some people.

AFP/DPA/mry

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