THE WAY THEY WERE Dörflein and Knut (Photo: Getty Images) As if Knut the polar bear weren't miserable enough (we saw him in person this past spring and he was one depressed cub), more tragedy has befallen the fluffy young thing who was rejected by his mother. Thomas Dörflein, the zoo keeper who raised the celebrity polar bear, has died.
Dörflein was found dead in his Berlin apartment over the weekend, and German news agency DPA said he had been ill for quite some time. Dörflein took charge of Knut in December 2006 and even spent that Christmas with him. In March 2007, he accompanied the bear on his first public appearance, and the two became a media sensation as they frolicked together for the crowds. By last November, however, zoo officials worried that Knut was getting too big and dangerous for playtime and they had to sever his relationship with the trainer. Zoo officials say Knut never got over Dörflein, and now poor little Knut will never get to see his friend again. It's hard not to think that this is in some way the fault of Sarah Palin.