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Zoo defends decision to stuff Knut

The Local · 23 Mar 2011, 10:57

Published: 23 Mar 2011 10:57 GMT+01:00

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The dead bear was a “worldwide, emotional mascot,” the zoo’s bear keeper Heiner Klös told public broadcaster RBB.

His mounted body will be displayed for educational purposes at Berlin’s Museum of Natural History, “because there aren’t that many polar bears any longer,” he said.

Klös also said he understood the opposition to preserving Knut in such a way, but insisted those against it were in the minority.

“Many think it’s good,” he said, adding that other zoo favourites had also been stuffed after their deaths.


Click here for a Knut photo gallery.

On Tuesday, a preliminary necropsy report revealed that the four-year-old polar bear likely died of an undiagnosed brain disorder, saying that “significant changes to the brain could be seen as the reason for the sudden death."

Knut was found lifeless in the pool in his enclosure on Saturday afternoon. An amateur video showing Knut's final moments shows the bear walking in repetitive circles, then having what appears to be a seizure before suddenly collapsing into the pool in his enclosure.

Further details of the necropsy are forthcoming, Klös said.

“Good examinations require good time and we want to tell the truth,” he told RBB.

Other than irregularities noted in Knut’s brain, the rest of his organs were in “tip top” shape, ruling out a heart attack or poisoning, Klös said.

The bear’s health was not in question before the episode, and Klös himself had checked in on Knut just an hour before he died.

Story continues below…

The problem was only “very suddenly apparent,” he said. “Then it was too late.”

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

Devastated fans have been leaving flower bouquets, written tributes and photos of Knut at his former den at the zoo, while an online condolence book has drawn more than 4,000 messages.


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Your comments about this article

16:18 March 23, 2011 by roboni
You have got to be kidding?
17:50 March 23, 2011 by sarahrodwell
No one wants Knut stuffed. As the French say, "c'est n'importe quoi". They are just saying whatever is most convenient for them.

If an actual poll was taken I would venture that the vast majority of Knut lovers are actually horrified at the prospect of a stuffed Knut.
18:29 March 23, 2011 by derExDeutsche
That stuffed Ursus is an Imposter! If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention! It has come to light that there was a confirmed Knut sighting in Southern Argentina !

Guttenberg lied, the Bear did not Died!
18:49 March 23, 2011 by William Thirteen
it would be more understandable had he been stuffed while still young and cute.
19:43 March 23, 2011 by karenandklaus
They cant even allow the poor animal die with dignity notwithstanding it's popularity. Once again, greed and $$$$ reigns.
20:42 March 23, 2011 by wood artist
Bad idea. Let the poor bear have some peace.

20:52 March 23, 2011 by wildcowgirl
Leave this poor bear alone!!! Stuffing him and throwing out front as part of a display is disgusting!!

Why not put a memorial museum in place with pictures and videos of Knut, the way we all remember him AND would like to remember him.
20:59 March 23, 2011 by Englishted
His soul has gone to Poler Bear heaven ,so his body is now empty .

And if you believe the above go and see a doctor .
22:20 March 23, 2011 by TheOkie
Ok, so I never saw Knut, but the way I see it is this:

If it was anyother Polar Bear of the frozen tundra, the mass public wouldn't give a damn. The only reason that everyone is getting up sit is because you "Know" this bear. But really how his he anymore important than the ones that are losing their homes in the north? Is it not better to perserve Knut, so that you can remember him AND that species that he belongs to. So that you get a better understanding for the species and they all don't have to die in our zoo's?
01:00 March 24, 2011 by Joshontour
People, it's just a bear... A dead bear. I guarantee you Knut doesn't care either way.
05:23 March 24, 2011 by wenddiver
Great idea, we should have stuffed President Kennedy and propped him up by the Berlin Wall, so you could press a button and hear him say "Ich bin ein Berliner" as long as it doesn't interfer with theoperation of the McDonald's at Check Point Charlie.

Maybe when he dies we could stuff Helmet Kohl and have him feeding the Bear.
06:18 March 24, 2011 by Wrench
Why have him stuffed? They can make a bear skin rug out of him and put him at the entrance of the Zoo.
07:21 March 24, 2011 by auniquecorn
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
07:56 March 24, 2011 by catjones
@auniquecorn...the discussion is about stuffing a dead bear, not beating a dead horse.
10:00 March 24, 2011 by auniquecorn
I dont think you would stuff a dead horse, especially after beating it.

It just amazes me, where people come up with sh!t like this, (Lets stuff Knut, then more people will pay to see him)

The most stupidest I´m hear in a long time
16:04 March 24, 2011 by William Thirteen
you couldn't have stuffed Kennedy as the stuffing would have always been popping out the back of his skull and you'd have to keep poking it back in. you could have stuffed Reagan - but it wouldn't have made a difference!
19:16 March 24, 2011 by rubyiman
Please sign the petition so they wont stuff knut

21:40 March 24, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Proof of LIFE!

Here is Knut it in an undisclosed Argentinian animal reserve, being introduced to a new mate. She's a nibbler, look out, Knut! you old hound dog!

11:21 March 25, 2011 by Zobirdie
I dont think they should stuff him either. I mean...seriously... in twenty years, no one will get why this particular zoo polar bear was special for a while.

And I am not saying that to be b!tchy. We know why he is special, and why he touched us. But even 5 years from now, are we still really going to care? Then he is going to be yet another taxidermy in the museum that someone has to dust with a backpack vacuum. Make a memorial at the zoo. Bury the poor fella and let him has his rest.
14:58 March 26, 2011 by tomsnowboo
If Berlin Zoo really cared about Knut, they would have waited to see what the majority of public thought should be done to commemorate him instead of asking a taxidermist to attend the post mortem. The Zoo profited massively from Knut in his lifetime and are now going to fail him in his death. I never had the chance to visit Knut when he was alive, and I don't want to see him stuffed in a museum in death. Please sign the petition: http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/dontstuffknut/
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