In detail

Eisbär Knut: tragic world star of the Berlin zoo


His mother was not interested in him. All the more the whole world. No polar bear has ever been more popular than Knut, the big star of the Berlin zoo. People from all regions of the world made a pilgrimage to the federal capital to see him - but luck was too short. Image: Shutterstock / 360b

Little polar bear was too Knut for this world

It was the first birth of a polar bear in the Berlin Zoo in three decades. Knut, a clumsy, white fur ball with button eyes enchanted media and visitors around the world. Rejected by his mother, the little rascal was raised by Thomas Dörflein by hand, and also made the shy animal keeper known worldwide.

The then Federal Minister of the Environment Sigmar Gabriel did not miss the opportunity to be present at the official presentation of the bear. Everyone knew how to use the young animal's incredible popularity: Knut became an ambassador for environmental protection and biodiversity.

The dream becomes a tragedy

The journey seemed to never end, the polar bear adorned national and international front pages and unprecedented crowds of spectators made a pilgrimage to the Berlin Zoo.

In 2008, the sworn duo was torn apart by the sudden death of foster father Thomas Dorflein. Harbinger of further strokes of fate? The world's most famous polar bear died in his enclosure three years later when he fell into the moat and drowned in front of visitors.

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