Investigators have determined that Knut the polar bear died of drowning after suffering a brain disorder. Fans are set to protest on Saturday against plans to display his remains in a climate change exhibit. Two weeks after the death of Knut the polar bear, investigators have determined the cause of the four-year-old's untimely demise.
According to the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Knut suffered from a brain inflammation and muscle spasms that caused him to fall from his perch and drown in the enclosure's pool.
Claudia Szentik, pathologist with the IZW, said that the inflammation in Knut's brain was so massive that "he would have died sooner or later."
Although Knut showed no signs of stress, IZW President Heribert Hofer explained that wild animals can bear a large amount of pain without outwardly showing it.
The current director of Berlin's Natural History Museum, Ferdinand Damaschun, said it was conceivable that Knut's remains could be preserved and put on display in an exhibit about climate change.
These plans have sparked a backlash among Knut fans, who plan to hold a demonstration outside Berlin Zoo on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the zoo plans to build a bronze statue to commemorate the world-renowned polar bear who was visited by 11 million people during his lifetime.
Knut shot to fame after being abandoned by his mother and hand-reared by keeper Thomas Dörflein.