23 March 2011

RIP Knut

KNUT, arguably the most popular polar bear to ever grace this earth, died suddenly on 19 March 2011, alone and without warning. A necropsy (animal autopsy) has revealed the Knut suffered distinct brain changes that may have led to his drowning death, however the full results are due Friday.

To die so young (aged four) when polar bears normally live well into their thirties has ensured Knut's life story ends just as tragic as it started. There will no doubt be numerous documentaries released to showcase the celebrity bear's life.
Today at Word Chic we remember some of the headlining Knut stories that were reported around the globe.

The spotlight was first shone of Knut when his mother rejected him after birth to ex-circus bear Tosca, in December 2006. Zoo keepers decided (against the advice of animal activists and other zoo keepers) to bottle feed him and within months he was a celebrity capturing the hearts of animal lover’s world-wide.

In March 2008 it seemed all the fame had gone to Knut's furry head - he was labelled a “publicly addicted psycho” when black ice prevented visitors at Berlin zoo, allegedly leaving Knut angry and upset due to lack of attention. This wasn't the only Knut event to gain global media attention in 2008.

The zookeeper who hand reared Knut was found dead in September and a lonely fan jumped into Knut's cage in December, and was prosecuted for trespassing over the matter.

 2009 turned out to be another tumultuous year for Knut also. He was involved in a bitter custody dispute between Berlin Zoo and Neum√ľnster Zoo and when introduced to a new female polar bear Gianna (also known as Giovanna) in September she slapped him.

Having personally viewed Knut myself he was like any other polar bear in captivity (albeit dirtier than I expected). Yet with all the media attention over the years it felt like he was more than just a bear. Maybe even an honorary human?  Some may disagree, even I do on some level, but the truth of the matter is everyone loves an underdog, especially a cute fluffy one that’s paraded across global media.  

Rest in peace Knut, you will forever live on in our hearts and minds, and probably a Disney movie or two.

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