The Dream Lives On: Knut Immortalized with Bronze Statue in Berlin Zoo
Berlin's famed Knut was officially immortalized on Wednesday with a bronze statue in the city's zoo. Though the cuddly polar bear won't be forgotten anytime soon, the memorial keeps the dream alive for future generations.
The city of Berlin officially honored its famed deceased polar bear, Knut, with a bronze statue on Wednesday. Knut's died suddenly in March 2011 after collapsing in his enclosure's pool and drowning. Pathology experts believe he had a seizure caused by encephalitis. Whatever the cause, his untimely death came as a shock to the city. Over his four short years, the ursine superstar had been the equivalent of a ATM machine for the Berlin Zoo, with millions of visitors coming to see "Cute Knut".
A Death in the Public Eye
In September 2008 his devoted keeper Thomas Dörflein, who raised Knut after his mother rejected him, died after having a heart attack. Zoo keepers eventually moved him to a bigger enclosure with three older female polar bears, but Knut's days were numbered. In the end, he died as he lived -- in the public eye.
Since then Berlin has struggled with preserving his memory. The media darling's hide is currently being prepared in the form of taxidermy for display in the city's Natural History Museum. The bear is expected to be shown as part of the museum's permanent collection by the end of 2013.
On Wednesday, Berlin Zoo director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz told the assembled crowd, "Knut's popularity even surpassed that of the famous Knautschke," a beloved hippopotamus who became famous during the 1950s for having survived the war and is also memorialized in the form of a statue at the zoo.
"We had visitors from all over the world, from Israel to New Zealand, from Canada to Australia and China," he said.
rr -- with wire reports
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