Thursday, March 31, 2011

Knut 'cannot be stuffed', say alarmed polar bear activists

Fans of Knut, Germany's superstar polar bear who died this month, are planning a demonstration on Saturdy against plans for his body to be preserved and put on display in a Berlin museum.

Knut died suddenly aged four on March 19 and activists have been collecting signatures both on the internet and on the streets. An online condolence book provided by his zoo is full of angry messages. "Knut cannot be stuffed. When are you going to get the message!," reads one from Michael S. "Leave him alone for once! You cannot be serious. Let Knut rest in peace !!!"

An open letter to zoo director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz says: "Nobody wants to look at a stiff, dead Knut."

According to a survey of more than 2,400 people published in the Berlin tabloid BZ, 73 per cent of those questioned are opposed to the bear being put on show at the museum.

Campaigners accuse the zoo, which has already made millions of euros from Knut in merchandising and entrance fees, of wanting to milk him for even more. They say Knut should be cremated.

Even if the plans go ahead, Knut is not actually going to be stuffed: a plastic model of an animal's body is made with the fur, skin or scales pulled over. (read more)