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BERLIN, October 24 (Itar-Tass) — The Berlin Zoo has unveiled a monument to world celebrity, polar bear Knut which was born and raised at the Berlin Zoo and was everybody 's pet until the bear died last March.
A bronze sculpture of the bear which is almost 1.4 meters long and more than a meter wide, depicts the animal lying deep in thought on an ice floe. Sculptor Iosif Tabachnik, who designed and built the sculpture, has already created animal figures scattered on the premises of several zoos. The sculptor's project titled Knut the Thinker was found best in a competition announced by the society of sponsors of Berlin zoos held last November. The project worth around 15,000 euros was financed by contributions from animal lovers and Knut's own devoted fans. The sculptor worked on the bronze sculpture for eight months.
Knut, which used to be everybody's pet in the neighborhood, was born on December 5, 2006. The cub's birthday was celebrated in Germany as a remarkable event because a bear was born and survived in captivity for the first time over the past 33 years. After Knut was born its mother which gave birth to the twins refused to feed the cubs, which were raised by the Zoo keepers.
The birth of the white Polar bear gave rise to a world phenomenon of "Knut mania" with plenty of toys, books, DVD discs, souvenirs and postcards issued in its honor.The bear which had been invariably in the limelight of the world media drew thousands of visitors to the Berlin zoo. The bear also "starred" in full-length feature film titled Knut and Its Friends.
On March 19, 2011 hundreds of visitors to the Berlin Zoo saw the animal fall into a swimming pool and collapse. Experts said the bear died as a result of a severe viral infection.