Wednesday, 13 April 2011
footage of Knut and his human parent Thomas Dorflein (RIP to them both)
Knut was the most adorable little polar bear who was rejected by his mother when he was born in captivity at the Berlin zoo on December 4, 2006 (died 23rd March 2011).
The zookeeper who achieved unlikely stardom as a surrogate parent for Knut the polar bear was found dead in a Berlin apartment in Sept 2008. There were no signs of foul play or suicide, a police spokesman said. The German news agency D.P.A. reported that the zookeeper, Thomas Dörflein, 44, had been seriously ill. Mr. Dörflein had nursed the polar bear cub with a bottle after Knut’s mother rejected him shortly after his birth.
Knut was very happy as he bonded with his human daddy, who fed him, hugged him, bathed him, kissed him, hugged him, and played with him. Knut was given a tremendous amount of love and affection.
When baby Knut was a little over 3 months old he was put on display, for all to see. People came to see him from all over the world. He became a celebrity, as the crowds of people who visited him purchased Knute memorabilia tee shirts, mugs, key chains, candy, postcards posters, plastic replicas, and stuffed likenesses of him.
He loved the flashes of the camera and even posed when photos of him were taken by the countless visitors. A year later he even made the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine in an Annie Leibovitz photo shoot.
But as Knut grew older, he was no longer cute. Crowds dwindled as they stopped coming to see him. Gone were the flashing cameras. Gone were the crowds of smiling delighted children squealing at his antics and tricks. If there was not a wall between Knut and the visitors, Knut could have done some serious harm.
Also gone was his keeper, as the older Knut got be more difficult and harder to handle. His hug was a huge bear hug that could hurt, maim and kill, His teeth grew into big long bear teeth that could bite, pierce, and kill. Even though Knut still thought of himself as a playful baby cub, he was in reality, a dangerous polar bear.
Knut had no other bear mates to play with. He was isolated now that this keeper was gone and that he was treated like any other ordinary wild zoo animal. He got depressed and became unmanageable. He acted out and would howl for hours until he saw human people come in front of his glass container. When they did he would immediately calm down . He cried and cried until people took his photos and flashed their cameras in his big bear face. He loved it!
But then the visitors stopped all together at various time, especially during the winter. Knut got more and more depressed and even got violent. The zookeeper even publicly called him a ”sociopath” and said he was a narcissist and impossible to manage.
In order to appease Knut’s anger, the zoo staff would have to walk by his enclosure and take flash photos of him. This went on throughout the day, which cost the staff time and money as it took away from their other responsibilities.
So 4 ½ years later, in March 2011, The Berlin zoo’s bear keeper Heiner Kloes reported to The Associated Press that Knut the bear died alone and in his compound. His exact words were:
“He was by himself in his compound, he was in the water, and then he was dead,” said Kloes. “He was not sick, we don’t know why he died.”