Knut’s Cause of Death Determined

1 04 2011


Knut playing with his "father" Thomas Dörflein in May 2007

The autopsy of Knut, the world-famous polar bear, has revealed that his immediate cause of death was drowning.  Knut passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on March 19th, 2011 in front of hundreds of zoo-goers when he suddenly collapsed into the water of his enclosure.  It has been found that his collapse was due to encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain caused by infection.  Knut achieved international fame when he was born at the Berlin zoo in 2006 and rejected by his mother.  Amid controversy with animal rights organizations, the zookeepers rescued Knut from his enclosure and raised him.  His primary caregiver was Thomas Dörflein, who passed away from a heart attack in 2008 at the age of 44.  Knut was the first polar bear to be born at the Berlin Zoo and survive past infancy in more than 30 years.




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