Knut: A Retrospective

Thanks to alert cuteporters, it has come to our attention that Knut the Polar Bear has passed away! He was only four years old. Cause of his death is not yet known.

We watched, loved and snorted with laughter at Knut over the years. Here are some highlights of our favorite [sniff] polar bear:

Remember his first “Wazzup, Bitches?” [snicker] paw pads pose?

Knut’s miniature baby gut and first steps were priceless:

Visitors flocked from far and wide to witness “The star of the Berlin Zoo”:

Knut quickly became known as an International Subearstar, playing the crowds. He really stepped it up for this photo. Geeshe:

His fame led to awareness for green issues, where graced the cover of Vanity Fair:

After Knut after he was abandoned by his mother, zookeeper Thomas Dorflein stayed by Knut’s side. Dorflein passed away in September 2008.

In 2009, Knut was introduced to Gianna, an Italian girl intended to become Knut’s mate. The first day they shared an enclosure, Gianna slapped Knut, but they got along peacefully after that.

Earlier this year, Knut’s lavish 4th birthday was attended by 250 people who sang to him as he gobbled up cake:

Top image by MSNBC. Knut with paw up by Yahoo and Reuters Berlin Zoo image klein Knut, little icebear baby knut by ~babsy~.Vanity Fair images by Annie Leibowitz. Knut turns four by The Telegraph.



  1. i_wuvs_puttins says:

    RIP, Knut. I pray for you and all the dwindling numbers of polar bears. :o(

  2. RIP little Knut.

  3. So sad.

  4. oh my goodness…. why? 😦

  5. actually polar bear population is increasing….

  6. RIP, you will always be a cute little floofball to me 😦

  7. Really? I HOPE so, but I thought they were losing habitat and really struggling…

  8. Well, that’s it–don’t feed cake to Ursus maritimus.

  9. JannieWolf says:

    ::Gasp!:: NO! Poor guy. He was such a cute, well loved little bear. RIP buddy.

  10. kibblenibble says:

    *sneef* 😦

  11. Sad snorf for Knut-ster. 😦

  12. Barooooooooooo

  13. Catsquatch says:

    oh Knut…

    You will be so missed sweet little baby bear….

  14. victoreia says:

    *sniff* 😥

  15. Rest in peace Knut. You will be missed.

  16. 260Oakley says:

    Knut Overload is making me smile and sniffle at the same time. Epic bearooo!

  17. not my sweet baby! so very very sad

  18. Farewell, snowball.

  19. Omg! No! Poor baby. Hopefully it was some sort of natural death even though he was in a severely unnatural environment.

  20. yup

  21. Maybe a broken heart?

  22. Incredible sad. Loved him.

  23. I’m with you there, 260O. What a cute little fellow he was.

  24. Eh, these people take care of animals for a living. I daresay it was a bear-appropriate cake…

  25. *sniff*


  26. Aw man 😦 RIP poor little guy, keeping the zoo keepers in prayers and sending hugs their way.

  27. o no he/ she/ it DI-unt!!! says:


  28. PorkRoll says:

    Goodknight, sweet Knut. 😦

  29. gee whiz that’s sad. also, i feel awful for the people who saw it happen. 😦

    i wonder what the autopsy will show.

    i feel sad for animals in captivity, though, especially the large ones who naturally roam big spaces. just sayin’. sad all around. drats.

  30. See, the reason why the polar bears are going into canada is because the ice is melting, and they have nowhere else to go. The population is dwindling, because as polar bears keep going into populated areas they’re going to be shot-and the people who shoot them will think “oh but there are more of them now it doesn’t matter” with no knowledge of the damage they are doing.

  31. Digitoonie says:


  32. Also, as a commenter on the article noted, the data in that article comes from a first nation tribe that often sells its tribal rights to hunt polar bears to trophy hunters. Its a good idea to doubt data from anyone who has a strong economic interest in pretending that polar bear populations are still strong so they can keep on selling their hunting rights!

  33. Yes, I think so…and his caretaker in 2008 😦

  34. Aww RIP knute teh Cute… He was so full of personality. 😦

  35. Mary (the first) says:

    Sad. He did a lot of enlightening and cute-ing while he was here though.

  36. Sad Overload

  37. I am so glad I got to see him in October. Poor thing.

  38. Could not agree more. Sad Overload.

    Knuuuuuuut, we loved ya…Hope you knew (know) that.

  39. I know that all bear cubs are adorable, but there was something ultra special and ultra adorable about Knut. This is very sad news.

  40. I know, he was just so full of personality. even all grown up he was smashingly cute.

  41. Queen of Dork says:

    To Knut:

    This little light of mine,
    I’m gonna let it shine!
    Let it shine, let it shine,
    Let it shine!!!

    R.I.P. and see you some day on the Bridge. 🙂

  42. I hope he and his rescuer were reunited. I also pray nothing comes out untoward in his untimely death. Poor bear.

  43. musicnote says:

    This is such very sad news. R.I.P. dear Knut … enjoy the sunshine at the Bridge.

  44. That video is restricted. Poor Knut :(((((

  45. Knut…so young.
    “Good night sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

  46. o I’m so sorry to hear this! I found out about Knut right here on CO. such a cutie.

  47. Mrs. Kravitz says:

    Heartbreaking. Poor little bear, I hope you will be greeted at the Rainbow Bridge by your mama and also by your other mama, Mr. Dorflein, who left us too soon as well. Dear little Knut, you gladdened many hearts with your sweetness.

  48. You will be missed little one.

  49. HRHQueenCat says:

    so, so sad & sudden 😦

    RIP sweet Baby

    you will be loved and remembered furrever

  50. Rest in Peace Lil Papi!! 😦

  51. This is so sad! I had to look up polar bear life expectancy. In the wild its 15-18 years and in captivity its 30+ years. Poor Knut, I hope that whatever happened, he wasn’t suffering! 😦

  52. It very well could have been from a broken heart. I’ve seen it first hand. After my grandmother passed away, her perfectly healthy toy poodle, “Bobo” died unexpectedly a few months later. My heart goes out to all who were involved in Knut’s life. They must be so devastated 😦

  53. R.I.P. poor little guy. You were loved from all over the world.

  54. This is so horrible… I can’t even process this. 😦

  55. Martha in Washington says:

    I think I’m gonna go to bed and cry now.

  56. sweet little Knut you brought me so much joy when you were a babe! and i fell in love with your handsome loving daddy, too. what a pair…RIP x2

  57. Bye-Bye sweet baby boy, you made a huge impact on us all. I hope you’re resting in peace, I haz a very big sad 😦

  58. Such sad news.. my heart is breaking… 😦
    Such a lovely creature he was!!!!

  59. bob drummond says:

    May he rest in peace,but let his memory go on…………..!

  60. Aw! I’m so incredibly sad now! 😦 Goodbye Little Knut! You were truly a special Bear! I hope you and Thomas are having fun in Heaven together again. Praying too for Gianna, who must be just as heartbroken!

  61. ” In our hearts you will always stay,loved,lost,but remembered every day”
    Goodnight little man…..see you anon

  62. Only the good die young.

  63. OMG! how sad!!

  64. There is this really great webpage of another famous polar bear, Flocke, for those interested. Germany has done so much to raise awareness about this endangered species. It’s so sad to hear that Knut has passed. 😦

  65. I will only admit on here how many buckets I have cried over a polar bear. =(

  66. Thanks for pointing that out, JoshN., I updated it, try again!

  67. Awww, RIP Knut! 😦

  68. sweekymom says:

    He has gone off to be with Thomas Dorflein. It is a pity we couldn’t enjoy his company longer. Barrooooooooooo!

  69. o no he/ she/ it DI-unt!!! says:

    All of us here understand that and many here probably also cried.

  70. Oh little bear, I am so sorry you had such a short time but I think it was a wonderful time that you had.

  71. bookmonstercats says:

    RIP Knut. Thank you for putting the spotlight on polar bears in the wild.

    For reasons that escape me, the first library I ever joined, on my seventh birthday, had a stuffed polar bear in the entrance hallway, standing on its hind legs. It was a beautiful, wood panelled library, with works of art in nooks and crannies everywhere, so said bear was incongruous. BUT, it brought the beauty and majesty of the species home to me at an early age and they have always been favourites since.

  72. There is no denying that this is sad news but it doesn’t change the fact that there are more polar bears today than there were ten years ago. Calling them endangered undermines the plight of animals who are actually endangered and need protection.

  73. For such a little guy – he accomplished alot – bringing awareness to what can be and what must be done to preserve this and other wonderful creatures – he also brought a lot of people together unifying them in their love and admiration for all creatures big and smAll. Thank you Knut for such a powerful lesson!!

  74. My heart is broken.

  75. RIP, poor Knut. 😦

    The video does not appear for me, BTW.

  76. Knut, we’ll miss you. But I’m sure you and Mr Dorflein will have good times in heaven.

  77. Jen in AK says:

    I shed some tears as I read all the outpouring of love for little Knut. What a beautiful little man he was. He was (and is) soooo loved and will be missed bunches.

  78. He (or she) looks like a dog or cat !!! (Sorry, I’m French^^)

  79. Sooooo Cute !!!

  80. Peeps! You *must* watch the video, if only for the protruberant belleh and wavy paws during bottle feeding time!

  81. Becky, Bubba's mum says:

    I has a sad. So terribly sad.

  82. Becky, Bubba's mum says:

    Watching the video and remembering the joy he brought me brings tears to my eyes. I has a sad. I wonder if the little guy ever stood a chance of a normal life? I hope he knows he was loved so much by so many. Terribly awfully sad.

  83. Knut and his caretaker Thomas are both in heaven now….

  84. coprogirl says:

    So very sad that Knut left us so soon. Thank you Meg for that retrospective.

    Does anyone know the name of that wonderful sun on the video? Sounds maybe like Portuguese? Loved it.

  85. coprogirl says:

    Oops. Meant song. Darn nails….

  86. You are not alone. 😥

  87. Aw…poor little Knut…he was so precious…like a real live teddy bear.

  88. Andi from NC says:

    I held it together until I watched the video…. 😦


    I burst into tears reading this. What possibly could have happened?? I hope he didn’t suffer. Oh poor little guy.

  90. Lewis n' Clark says:

    RIP, lil’ Knut.

  91. Same here 😥 😥 😥 😥

  92. saw the heartbreaking video. looks like he had some kind of stroke.
    he was walking in cirlces and limping then he staggered and fell into the water.
    so sad. dont watch coz you will get more than a little verklempt.

  93. Ich bin einfach nur traurig! Die Geschichte des kleinen Eisbären Knut hat mich tiefberührt, nciht nur, weil ich in Berlin lebe. Eine ausergewöhnliche Geschichte, die so viel Hoffnung gegeben hat und letzendlich tragisch endete…

    [I’m just sad! The story of the little polar bear Knut has deeply touched me, nciht only because I live in Berlin. Exceptionally a story that has given so much hope and ultimately tragic ending … – thank you, google translator! –Ed.]

  94. My heart is broken. Rest in peace little buddy!

  95. A big soft Wally says:

    Oh dear.

    Read about it yesterday and got upset.

    Then fire up my browser today, go for my daily fix of Happy Sites (Dilbert, Nemi, Cute Overload) and now I’m confused.

    I felt for Christchurch, New Zealand. I felt for the innocent dead in North Africa and the Middle East. I felt, and still feel for Japan.

    But I’m crying for Knut.

    Poor little thing.

  96. “His careteker in 2008” meaning what? He died?

    R.I.P. Knut

    Very sad. And this must have been tragic for all those there to witness it…. Got goosebumps..

  97. Fare thee well dearest Knut, Thomas is waiting to receive you in paradise.
    Hugs, james x

  98. so sad!!!!
    maybe in the great snow fields of heaven, he and his caretaker mr dorfleinn are chillin’

    he touched hearts all over the world..thank you Knut for the joy you brought

  99. “His careteker in 2008″ meaning what? He died?

  100. coprogirl, it’s Italian. Artist: Elisa. Title: Eppure Sentire (Un senso di te).

  101. Rip, Knut!
    Thanks for bringing so much happiness to the world.

  102. Thanks for bringing us this very sad news. I think it’s the only place I’ve seen it. He was a beautiful bear and I will miss his antics.

  103. MiniMoppel says:

    His mama Tosca is still alive and lived with Knut until he died.

  104. MiniMoppel says:

    It’s Italian. The artist is Elisa Toffoli.

  105. Just because there are more polar bears today than 10 years a) does not mean they are not endangered and b) does not mean they don’t deserve protection like every other species on this planet. And giving them attention in the manner that they have has helped raise awareness for conservation in general, so no, I don’t think it undermines the cause.

  106. WendyPinNJ says:

    I haz much sad.

    Really, I was shocked to hear this the other day. Seems like just yesterday he was a cute little nugget romping around with Mr. Dorflein. And now they’re both gone.

    My first reaction was also that poor Knut died from a broken heart, missing his surrogate daddy.

    RIP sweet boy.

  107. Im crying, its so sad i just love him so much :`( LOVE YOU KNUT!<3

  108. corgahoula says:

    not fairrrrr!!!!! why did knut have to be taken so early? i can only hope he just felt it was his time to reunite with mr. dorflein. those of us who followed knut are left heartbroken and teary eyed. knut, i hope wherever you are now you’re having as good a time, and are surrounded by as many loving friends, as you had while you were here ❤

  109. Maerlyn99 says:

    I haz a sad.

  110. Knut’s caretaker died in 2008. Prior to that he and Knut were kept apart for safety reasons and it seems that Knut became more and more aggressive after that and seemingly inconsolable without ‘human attention’. It makes me sad because this human was very much Knut’s family and to keep them separated must have been devastating for him. I realize it has been 3 years between the deaths and perhaps I am a bit ‘romantic’ in my outlook but wild or not, animals do get very attached to their humans!

  111. I really hope so – they so belong together and should never have been kept apart:(

  112. They have determined that he had brain damage and suffered from a seizure which caused him to fall into the water and drown (I am assuming the actual cause of death would be seizure secondary to drowning?).
    There is some question as to how long he had the brain damage – if it was the reason he may have been abandoned by his mother.
    I still think ‘broken heart’. In this article they talk about having removed his companion Giovanna from his cage and putting 3 other polar bears with him who were more aggressive than Knut was used to.
    In that case stress may have triggered the seizure.
    I have a page a day calendar at work and there was a picture of a swimming polar bear a couple weeks back that I really liked so I put it right in front of my keyboard so I could see it. Now when I look it I just feel sad 😦 Poor Knut:(

  113. Evil Tyrannosaur says:


  114. Cora Gary says:

    Rest in peace little guy and may you and Thomas Dorflein enjoy many happy days together.

  115. Oh no 😦 The video is suddenly a lot more of a tear-jerker now.

  116. kagura110 says:

    sooooo cute! we love u knut!

  117. The Koala says:

    I hope the rainbow bridge is big enough for Polar Bears…safe journey little one :*(

  118. baby birdie says:

    Even dinosaurs are crying for Knut.

  119. Amanda Rae says:

    this breaks my heart 😦 we’ll all miss you

  120. baby birdie says:

    I have three things to say:
    1: By the way, I cropped my pic from the third Knut photo.
    2: How do you pronounce “Knut?”
    3: In the Harry Potter books, a Knut is the lowest wizard coin value.

  121. baby birdie says:

    Wait, I just found out how to pronounce “Knut.” Nevermind on that one.