Buying a Headstone for Knut's Surrogate Father

Dead at 44
Thomas Doerflein became famous because of his devotion to Knut, the world's most famous polar bear. After Knut was born in captivity at the Zoologischer Garten in Berlin and rejected by his mother, the zookeeper nurtured him round the clock, even sleeping near him in a sleeping bag and feeding him several times each night. But Thomas died last september of a heart attack. He was 44. Read on for the rest of the story...

knut polar bear thomas doerflein photo

Now we learn that the 18-years old son the deceased zookeeper is selling some of his father's belongings on eBay to raise enough money to buy a headstone.

From Reuters:

Doerflein's sleeping bag, which the keeper used while he was caring for Knut round the clock and getting up several times a night to feed him, received 84 offers and fetched just over 1,400 euros ($1,950).

The bearded zookeeper's 10-year-old car obtained the highest bids, going for 3,600 euros, according to eBay after the end of the auction on Saturday night.

Other items in the sale included a belt, a book with a CD about Elvis and a pocket knife.

So far he has raised about 7,000 euros ($9,748), but that has generated some controversy with Doerflein's former fiancé calling the sale "tasteless".

Personally, I think that as long as the goal really is to honor the memory of his father (and not to spend it all on beer), there's nothing tasteless here. It's just stuff. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that there are some people out there who show extraordinary devotion to whatever they think is right, and Thomas Doerflein certainly was like that.

Our hat is off to you (posthumously), Thomas!

Via Reuters
Photos: 1st The Sun, 2nd Wikipedia
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