Knut, the famous polar bear that drowned at Berlin Zoo in 2011, was found to have anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis which experts believe was the likely cause of his untimely death.
A new investigation has shown that he had a type of autoimmune inflammation of the brain that is also recognised in humans.
Knut is the first non-human subject in which anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis has been demonstrated, and in their paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers say it is very probably far more common than previously assumed – not just in captive or domesticated animals, but also in the wild.
Knut was abandonded by his mother at birth and grew up at the Berlin Zoo where he died under mysterious circumstances in 2011, at the age of 4. He had a seizure and collapsed, then went into a coma from which he never awoke.
For the last 4 years his death has been a bit of a mystery as they haven’t been able to figure out what exactly was the cause of his seizure and his subsequent death.
At least now the Berlin zookeepers and the public have gotten some answers and closure regarding Knut’s death.