Knut was hand-raised by zoo staff after his mother rejected him and his twin, who later died.. The cub became an overnight sensation in Berlin and around the world.
The first public appearance of Knut attracted camera crews from everywhere.
As he grew, animal welfare groups worried all the attention was causing him to behave abnormally.
He would sway to and fro, and imitate fans taking photos by lifting a paw to his face.
I am wondering now if this was a sign that something was not right with him physically, and maybe he was experiencing small fits, lifting his paw to his head in pain, swaying to and fro? It seems quite obvious this is the case. He was not alone in the enclosure as well, but lived with two other female bears. So it's not like he didn't KNOW how to be a bear..
I am also wondering if this is why the mother rejected her cubs in the first place. Animals have the ability to detect disease in others. They even have dogs that can detect an oncomming epileptic fit in their owners. I know it sounds cruel to humans but in the wild it is survival of the fittest and maybe their mother was just acting on instinct.
A crown of 600 or more people witnessed Knuts final moments, gasping in horror as the polar bear plunged into the water. One visitors home video has now been released and I have watched it. It is a very distressing thing to watch and I don't recommend it.
It is sad that he didn't live out his life to his fullest potential.