Year in Review: The Weirdest, Wildest Animal Stories of 2011

Rest in Peace, Knut

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knut death

credit: kate nev

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The Berlin Zoo's most famous polar bear, Knut, became an international sensation at just a tiny cub, abandoned by his mother and raised by a zoo employee (he even shared the cover of Vanity Fair with Leonardo DiCaprio in 2007).

But in March, the beloved polar bear died suddenly at the age of four.

An autopsy later revealed that the cause was brain damage -- doctors suggest he may have had epilepsy -- and though his death brought up plenty of controversy over whether animals should be hand raised and whether they should be kept in zoos, we looked back at happier times.