Berlin Zoo puts down star polar bear cub Knut's ageing mother

2015-06-24 13:38
(Michael Sohn, AP)

(Michael Sohn, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Berlin - The ageing mother of Knut, the famous hand-reared polar bear who captured German hearts and the world's attention in his short life, was put down at Berlin Zoo on Tuesday because it said she was blind, deaf and suffering.

Tosca, who rejected her cub Knut at birth in 2006, was nearly 30 years old, the zoo said.

Knut, who died aged 4 in 2011 from an epileptic fit, became the zoo's star attraction after Tosca rejected him at birth. That would have normally meant death but the fluffy white cub was saved against the odds and reared by zookeeper Thomas Doerflein.

"Deaf, blind and disoriented, Tosca was found stumbling around in her cage on Monday," the zoo said in a statement.

"She lost her sense of smell. It was a pathetic sight. Veterinarians, animal protection officials and zoo officials came to a joint decision to put the elderly Tosca out of her misery."

Tosca was born in Canada but spent time in the Communist East German state circus for a while before the Berlin Wall fell. She had been at Berlin Zoo since 1998.

At the height of the Knut frenzy in 2007, thousands of visitors from around the world flocked to the zoo to see the rescued cub frolic in his enclosure.

Knut's survival inspired a dizzying array of merchandise. Other German zoos have tried to repeat Knut's fame by promoting other celebrity animals but none has ever come close.

Doerflein selflessly stayed with Knut round the clock for 150 straight days, hand-feeding the cub with milk and porridge through the nights. Knut, weighing 800 grams, had been the first polar bear born at the zoo in 33 years.

Knut, who grew to 28kg within six months, would have died shortly after his birth without Doerflein's care. Doerflein's twice daily "Knut shows" drew more than 1 million viewers and were staged for several months until Knut grew too large.

Doerflein died aged 44 in 2008, three years before the cub.

Read more on:    germany  |  animals

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.