It is with the heaviest of hearts we announce the passing of our beloved black bear Knut.
Born in 1996, Knut was a senior bear under the watchful eye of our Wildlife Veterinarian, Dr. Malcolm McAdie, owner, Robin Campbell and our dedicated animal care team. With medical needs associated with his advanced age, Knut showed a rapid decline in health this week and passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 20, surrounded by people who loved him.
Knut was born in captivity at the Vancouver Game Farm. His mother, also captive born, would not or did not know how to care for him, so he was brought to NIWRA weighing only 1.5 kilograms.
Knut had a remarkably close and special bond with Robin Campbell, his best human-friend. Knut was hand-raised by Robin and was a cherished member of the Campbell and NIWRA families. The lessons learned from caring for this amazing animal have enabled NIWRA to develop a world class black bear rehabilitation program and helped rehabilitate and release hundreds of ill, injured or orphaned cubs back into the wild.
Over his lifetime, Knut was an iconic animal ambassador at NIWRA and a favourite for caretakers, NIWRA volunteers and visitors alike. Visitors often commented that they grew up with Knut, having met him when they were young and then brought their own children to meet him.
He was 'adopted' regularly by his admirers and could often be found lying on his back in his favourite spot at the front of the bear enclosure, snoring or playing with his young companion, Rae. Knut's photogenic image can be seen on many of NIWRA's advertisements and publications as well as in the photo collections of our many visitors.
Knut was the focal point of our Discover Bear presentations and he helped educate thousands of visitors on the importance of wildlife stewardship and conservation.
Social media posts featuring Knut and Rae always received the most likes and comments, and we know many will feel his loss deeply.
We will carry Knut in our hearts and thoughts always.
A special resting place has been prepared for Knut, and the public will have access to it in the future. We are preparing signage to honour this incredibly special bear.
You can help the wildlife in care at NIWRA by making a financial contribution on our secure website. Thank you so much for caring about wildlife!