Polar Bear Lovers Mourn Death of the Man Who Saved Knut

Thomas Dorflein, who adopted the baby polar bear Knut at the Berlin Zoo photo

Image source: Berlin Zoo

Dead at 44. How unfair is life, to cut down in his prime the man with a heart big enough to adopt a polar bear? The Berlin Zoo has posted their saddened response to the news of Dörflein's passing:

Together with Knut, he won the hearts of fans in Berlin and worldwide. The Zoo and Animal Park owe Dörflein lasting thanks for his contribution and his selfless dedication.

Find more photos, details and a link to the website for condolences below.

Cuddly Knut the polar bear photo

image source: Daily Mail

Although saving polar bears rejected by their mothers may divide opinions, the report that Thomas Dörflein has passed away shortly after clutching his chest and collapsing at a friend's Berlin apartment has met overwhelmingly with a shocked sense of the loss of a good man. Zoo visitors and animal experts debate whether Knut will mourn the loss of his surrogate mother in the pages of the German press, but one thing is certain: Dorflein's human fans will miss the ongoing saga of the man who sacrificed to raise the global warming icon from cuddly cub to beastly bear.

Knut at 1 year old

image source: Daily Mail

Dörflein attained an unexpected, and perhaps even unwelcome, celebrity when the little polar bear Knut became a star, dubbed "Cute Knut" by Tom Cruise and leading to record visitor numbers at the Berlin Zoo. A website has been established by the Berlin Zoo for condolences for Thomas Dörflein. You can leave your thoughts via the form at the bottom of the page by entering your name and message in the fields with the "*". (Messages posted after 19:00 Berlin time will appear after 9:00 the next morning.)

It is tragic that the world has lost a man so willing to give of himself to find balance between man and nature. Condolences to all who will certainly miss such a man, especially those who were near to him.

The World Mourns Knut
Berlin Zoo
Spiegel International Edition
Daily Mail
More on Knut in TreeHugger
Knut: A Great Book for Kids
Springtime in Berlin
A Picture is Worth... Polar Bear Knut is 1 Year Old.

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