The adorable tale of the baby polar bear rejected by his mother in Zoo Berlin won hearts all around the world. As Thomas Doerflein, the zookeeper, raised Knut into toddlerhood, saving the rejected cub's life, books were written, and millions of people flocked to see the superstar bear. And now, 4-year-old Knut has died and in an incredibly disturbing way.
Knut died in front of hundreds of people visiting the zoo, and his last moments were captured on video, which has now come out.
Warning: This video of Knut's death is not appropriate for children to view. Or even very sensitive adults.
The zookeepers are saying Knut was not sick, and they don't know why he died. But everyone from local fans to PETA are weighing in on the celebrity polar bear's death. PETA had been asking that Knut be moved away from the three females he shared a home with, as the ladies were bullying him. Other zoo goers agreed.
Additionally, Knut's celebrity had some experts claiming he was turning into a psycho bear. All of the attention was not natural, and could have caused him to snap. Others say Knut became depressed after Doerflein was no longer allowed to visit him in his habitat, for fear of the giant bear hurting him. (Doerflein died of a heart attack a few years ago, and some of these same people say it was due to a broken heart.)
Regardless, this sordid tale does not jibe well with my cute little book I read to my kids quite frequently. My daughter has been clamoring to visit Zoo Berlin since the first read. What do I tell her about Knut now?
As with other discussions of death, my feeling is less is more here with Knut. It's not like we were planning a trip overseas anytime soon, so I can possibly avoid the discussion until we suddenly come into some serious travel money and/or my children learn how to chill out on long plane rides. Whichever comes first.
In the meantime, I think Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World will go mysteriously missing.
How will you tell your kids about the tragic death of Knut?
Image via Andrea & Stefan/Flickr