Skip to Main Content

Knut, Dead at Age 4

Written by PETA | March 21, 2011

Knut, the polar bear cub who was the toast of the Berlin Zoo four short years ago, is dead. He was only 4 years old.  

trespassers william/cc by 2.0

Months ago, PETA Germany had warned the head of the zoo that Knut was being terrorized by his three female companions, one being his mother, Tosca, (who had once been used in a circus.) He was under constant stress. PETA Germany repeatedly asked zoo authorities to move Knut away from the three females to a different location. Like most captive polar bears, Knut paced incessantly and bobbed his head repeatedly, signs of captivity-induced mental illness common in bears. One German zoologist termed Knut a “psychopath” but zoo officials insisted Knut was “fine.”

Previously, the zoo had tried to unload the less-cute (and less lucrative) adult Knut to another zoo. “It’s time for him to go–the sooner he gets a new home the better. Anything else would be financially irresponsible,” said the zoo’s senior bear keeper. The plans were scrapped in the face of public opposition. Polar bears naturally roam vast Arctic expanses and open water—which no zoo can provide. An Oxford University study found that polar bears suffer physical and mental anguish in captivity and noted that a polar bear’s typical enclosure size is about one-millionth of his or her minimum home-range size.

People who care about bears should refuse to buy a ticket to any zoo that profits from their misery.

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Commenting is closed.
  • Ela says:

    The fact that Knut was diagnosed with a brain disorder does not surprise me. The dramas in his little life started at a very early age. First losing his keeper who had spent night and day with him, than losing his mate Gianna, by sending her back to her zoo. All the lonely times he spent alone, not to mention when he was stuck with those 3 dame’s, biting and bullying him. All that is reason enough for his mental changes. He was considered a psycho baer when his keeper died. Knut did not know or understood why Thomas did not came back and why he was singled out, nor why he was not aloud to be happy. The zoo down plays all those facts by saying he died from a brain disorder, but that disorder was created by the zoo. Knut and Thomas (keeper) our now together again…playing and being happy.

  • Ed says:

    PETA – You should remove the idiot Rick’s remark from your site. He is clearly a shill that you are enabling to broadcast his demented views.

  • wilma sheridan says:

    Sounds like they ignored the problems that were ongoing for Knut. I hold them accoutable for his death. They or he should be fired and not employed by any other wildlife organization.

  • Tiffany Dewley says:

    This is the most horrible way to die. I can not believe this poor suffered the way he did and the worst part is that people stood by and did nothing. Who are these people and how do they live with themselves? I could not even imagine. May the poor baby rest in peace.

  • gypsycook says:

    One if we all stop going to Zoos then what happens to the animals that they can no longer feed like the ones who are unable to fend for themselves in the wild, you know the ones born into captivity? Are you trying to say they would be better off in an environment they are not suited for? An animal that has no survival skills, and is dropped into the wild will more then likely die of starvation because it doesn’t know how to fend for itself. How does that makes sense either? Yes it is sad to see an animal out of it’s natural environment but it would be just as sad to release it to it’s death. So what is really the right thing?? If it would not be capable of surviving isn’t it more humane to keep it where it will at least be cared for?? It is always sad when anything dies young but there are alot of reason in nature or captivity that can lead to early death, and judging by the video I saw he looked like he was having a sezure and those can onset suddenly with no signs of an issue before hand. My brother was 16 when he had his first sezure and there were no indications prior to the first one that there were any issues.

  • Susan says:

    I feel so bad for poor Knut. I’m glad he is free from a life at a crappy zoo, but it seems like there is something not right with how he died. The zoo was complaining that he was a problem bear and he was expensive to take care of. Well, now they plan to stuff him and they will probably charge admission for people to see him. So, what that says is that he is worth more dead than alive. They said he died from changes in the brain? What does that mean? I just don’t trust those people. I can almost bet that there was foul play involved in Knut’s death. He was a gorgeous bear, it’s such a shame

  • PETA says:

    Initial autopsy reports are saying brain problems was the cause of death.

  • Rick says:

    Is this the first polar bear death not blamed on the myth that is “global warming?” (Official cause of death: He was nagged to death by three females!!!)

  • dina says:

    I have no idea why zoos have carried over to the present day. Thank you PETA for reporting this story as it should.