Knut, the world’s most famous polar bear, has died at just 4 years of age.
Rejected by his mother he was put in an incubator and raised by humans from a cub at Berlin Zoo. His story captured the imagination of an adoring public and was adopted by many as an icon on tackling climate change. Polar bears can live for up to 30 years in the wild.
His premature death from brain damage has provoked renewed debate about the ethics of keeping large animals in zoos. Comments on the BBC website are wide ranging including, human arrogance in interfering with nature’s course, our sentimentality in relating to wild creatures, the role of status species in zoo’s as ambassadors for their breathen in the wild, and the importance of not judging nature by human standards.
Whatever your view Knut’s short life should be cherished – we loved the polar bear champion. Maybe his early death is another signal that we need to act quickly to address the threats to the natural world.