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Famous Polar Bear ‘Knut’ Dies Suddenly

dateline: 22 March 2011

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • mourn: to expressing sadness and remember the life of someone or something
  • reject: to not accept
  • collapse: to fall down suddenly; to become lifeless
  • insane: mad; not mentally stable
  • in captivity: confined in an enclosure at a zoo or other facility; not living in the wild
  • life expectancy: the average time one is expected to live according to statistics

Famous Polar Bear ‘Knut’ Dies Suddenly
The world is mourning the death of Knut, a famous that was born in 2007, and hand-raised at the Berlin Zoo. Knut’s mother rejected him as a , and zookeepers took over the job of raising the bear. The polar bear quickly became a celebrity, inspiring toys, books, and movies . On March 19th, about 600 visitors watched as the four-year-old bear began shaking and walking in circles, and then collapsed in the water. Animal rights blame the zoo for the bear’s death, saying that Knut had been showing signs of going insane from captivity. Zookeepers deny the accusations, saying that Knut was a healthy bear who loved to show off for visitors. The life expectancy for polar bears in captivity is years.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Why did Knut become famous?
  2. Who watched Knut’s death?
  3. Why do animal rights activists blame the Berlin Zoo for Knut’s death?

Discussion Question: An amateur video of Knut’s death was posted online and later picked up by a major news channel. It shows the polar bear in distress before collapsing into his pool. Should news agencies support this kind of video? Why or why not?

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Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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