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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Knut the polar bear died after suffering epileptic fit, according to medics

By Daily Mail Reporter

Tragic: A post-mortem has revealed that Knut the polar bear died due to a brain problem at a Berlin zoo

Celebrity polar bear Knut died after an epileptic fit, medics have said.

A CAT scan revealed abnormalities in his brain and neurologists said he may have inherited epilepsy from his father Lars, also a sufferer.

Berlin Zoo confirmed the results of a post-mortem pinpointing the condition that took his life aged just four.

Germany's Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Game Animal Research conducted the autopsy on the world's most famous polar bear who died in his enclosure in the zoo last Saturday.

Some 600 visitors saw him suffer what appeared to be epileptic cramps as he basked in the spring sunshine.

Knut was seen to shake as he made his way into the pool with his left leg trailing. He never got out of the water again.

Trauma: In the deeply harrowing film, spectators' whoops turn to screams as the realisation dawns that Knut's convulsions are not one of his usual playful performances

Weaned on the whirr of video recorders and the flash of cameras, his life was marked with the tragedy that stalks so many Hollywood stars.

Rejected at birth, catapulted to fame, left-broken hearted with the death of his surrogate 'dad,' lonely and tormented by three females in his enclosure meant to normalise him, he finally gave up the will to live on Saturday.

It was a full house as Knut the show-bear would have wanted it; a crowd of around 600 to 700 spectators enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine of Berlin as it framed the star attraction in his pen.

Suddenly the script went terribly wrong. Knut convulsed on the rock he was basking on. He was still shaking as he went into the water. Then he was still as the screams of children pierced the air.

Sorely missed: Tributes, poems, flowers and candles are laid at the gate of Berlin Zoo today

A toy Knut in among a floral tribute at the entrance to Berlin Zoo last night

At just four-years-old, he died long before the normal lifespan of between 15 and 20 years for polar bears. But for those who charted his life, it was always going to end in tears.

Animal rights group Peta blamed the zoo for his death, claiming it treated him like a money machine - he made six million pounds for it with merchandising and increased turnover - and that putting him into the open with three female bears who seemed to bite and chase him away overloaded him with stress that killed him.

Others claimed he was a 'psycho bear' who went downhill after his beloved keeper Thomas Doerflein, who raised him by hand, died from a heart attack in 2008. One of his other keepers later claimed he was incapable of happiness once the camera crews and crowds had moved away.

On Sunday, crowds gathered beside his empty compound, laying down red roses and white stuffed polar bears, lighting candles and putting up pictures of Knut with personal messages for him.

His enclosure at the zoo is now a shrine to his memory. He will be stuffed and put on display in a museum, it was announced today.



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