Brain inflammation led to Knut's drowning, necropsy finds
Knut the polar bear cub became an international darling after he made his Berlin Zoo debut in 2007.
April 2nd, 2011
03:21 PM ET

Brain inflammation led to Knut's drowning, necropsy finds

Knut the polar bear, the star attraction at the Berlin Zoo who suddenly died March 19, drowned after falling into his swimming enclosure, investigators said Friday.

Knut had encephalitis, or severe inflammation of the brain, which caused the muscle spasms that led to his drowning, according to the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, the official German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

A pathologist with the institute said the encephalitis would have killed Knut eventually if he had not drowned.

Knut became a cultural phenomenon when he made his public debut as a cuddly cub in 2007. His mother at the zoo had rejected him at birth, so a zookeeper raised him, including administering bottle feedings, until he got big enough to feed himself.

More than 600 zoo patrons, including many children, were watching Knut when he fell into the pool, and some screamed as they realized what was happening, reported, which features a photo gallery of Knut's public life.

Several dozen people demonstrated Saturday at the Berlin Zoo to object to plans to stuff Knut's hide for display in a museum, Monsters and Critics reported.

"To put him in a stuffy museum room so he can catch dust for decades and be grabbed, fingered and stared at ... he doesn't deserve that," protester Uwe Voelkel, 53 said.

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Filed under: Animals • Bears • Germany
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. JAZZ

    Can tell he had a beautiful personality by the photo's

    April 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • taybay

      Perhaps the mother bear was ahead of the doctors, and rejected the newborn because she knew it wasn't healthy. Often animals are better off w/out our 'help'.

      April 3, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • JAZZ

      @ DFGDG: OOOOOOO, your so EVIL.

      April 3, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • maurypovich

      he'd have eaten you in a pinch.

      April 3, 2011 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Anchorite

      The eating you is part of how beautiful he was. And, bears only eat when they are hungry.

      April 3, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • somuchfor

      @taybay: That's quite possible, but because he was born in a zoo under the care of humans, our human interference allowed him to have a life, albeit short, where he was surrounded by love, had plenty of food, and thrived. That's ok too.

      April 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      For those who say we should not help animals...

      Without our help, a lot of animals would be extinct right now. We breed animals to eat, to keep as pets, to do things to bring us pleasure, what's wrong with saving a bear? A life is a life and theirs are a lot more innocent than ours. We squander the resources that belong to other animals to sustain our hedonistic life, the animals deserve to live more than we do, they are innocent and the least we could do is help them whenever we can.

      April 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |

    i guess he wasnt smarter than the average bear..

    April 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Newsflash, kid: you don't contract encephalitis by being stupid.

      April 2, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |

      ALL i said is he is not smarter....he is just an average bear.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • JAZZ

      Ruffnutt, don't listen to Mike he has no life and can't comprehend your wit .

      April 3, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Herbert


    April 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nerd


      #define max 16

      void convert1(int *n1,int *n2)
      int i,z,j,d=0,n=1;
      n = 1;
      for(j=1;j=0 && q=0;i–)
      g = n1[i]&n2[i];
      p = n1[i]^n2[i];
      arr[i] = p^c;
      c = g|(p&c);
      c = 0;
      for(i=0;i< max;i++)
      if(n1[i]==0 && n2[i]==0)
      if(n1[i]==0 && n2[i]==1)
      if(n1[i]==1 && n2[i]==0)
      if(n1[i]==1 && n2[i]==1)
      arr3[i] = 0;
      c = 1;
      else if(c==1)
      if(n1[i]==0 && n2[i]==0)
      arr3[i] = 1;
      c = 0;
      if(n1[i]==0 && n2[i]==1)
      if(n1[i]==1 && n2[i]==0)
      if(n1[i]==1 && n2[i]==1)
      return c;

      void shift(int *n1,int *n2,int *arr3)
      int c=0,i,j,k,temp[max];
      for(i=0;i< max;i++)
      c = addbin(n1,n2,temp);
      for(j=0;j< max;j++)
      n1[j] = temp[j];
      for(j=0;j< max-1;j++)
      arr3[j] = arr3[j+1];
      arr3[max-1] = n1[0];
      for(j=0;j0 && y>0)
      printf("\n\nTHE 16-bit BINARY FORM OF 0\t: ");
      printf("%d ",a[i]);
      printf("\nTHE 16-bit BINARY FORM OF %d\t: ",x);
      printf("%d ",b[i]);
      printf("\nTHE 16-bit BINARY FORM OF %d\t: ",y);
      printf("%d ",q[i]);
      printf("\n\n\tCalculating %d * %d ",x,y);
      printf("In 16-bit BINARY FORM :\n\n\t");
      printf("%d ",a[i]);
      printf("%d ",q[j]);
      x = -1;

      April 3, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • JAZZ

      @ Nerd , you need one more convert 1, haha

      April 3, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joey

    Please do not stuff this bear.
    I have a friend whose girlfriend keeps an deer's head on her wall. He walks up to it every time he's there and says, "I'm sorry."

    April 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • T3chsupport

      Well I'm sorry, but your friend is kind of dumb.
      That thing is dead. So is the bear. Dead-dead. They don't care what happens to their bodies after death. To think so is to anthropomorphize them, which is silly.

      April 2, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alana

      Why not stuff it? He was not killed to stuff. And with humans destroying this world, all those bears will be extinct one day. At least after our destruction we will have stuff bears to show our great great grandkids.

      April 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • jenna

      the bear was not killed to be a trophy, it died. i see no problem with stuffing him. it would be wasteful not to do so.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. JAZZ

    @ Herbert what is the * for i'm not up to speed on short cuts?

    April 2, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |

    stuffing him would be unBEARable...

    April 2, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |

    herbert is eatinging strawBEARry shertbert and is typing one handed..

    April 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JAZZ

    @ Ruffnutt, but you are my friend. thanks for the laugh

    April 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey

    I think that Herbert meant the "smarter" bear was a star.

    April 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JAZZ

    Thanks Joey

    April 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Herbert

    It represents the spot of our solar system;just a dot in the massive number of billions of billions of stars in the universe. As an animal or person, or star dies, we fade and fade deep into a an invisible world of subconsiousness into the cosmos forever into infinity.

    April 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amana

      How do you know that we fade into *eternity" forever? Our bodies decompose and all the organic materials of our bodies become a part of *matter*. So in a sense, we don't fade away. We replenish the earth.

      April 3, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joey

    You're welcome, I'm sure!
    Just trying to surmise his intention.
    Hope nobody stuffs me if I drown.

    April 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey

    Of course! Thanks, Herbert.
    Did you ever have a TV show? "Billions, and billions of stars..."

    April 2, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • SwinGtr

      You are thinking of Carl Sagan's series The Cosmos. It is available on Netflix downloads. While it is not the most enthusiastic series, it is incredibly interesting and eye-opening.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Herbert

    No Joey, but I used to watch Dr. Carl Sagan. He is dead now.

    April 2, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Baroclin

      They stuffed Carl too....

      April 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey

    I know. Saw his house at Cornell.

    April 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
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