Der Spiegel reports that polar bear Knut’s remains are going to have an afterlife as a museum object:
A spokesperson for the [Berlin Museum of Natural History] confirmed Friday that an agreement has been reached with the Berlin Zoo for the animal’s remains to become part of its massive collection of natural history artifacts. The museum has not developed plans for how Knut will be displayed and currently has no exhibits on the Arctic or on global climate change, two possible locations for Knut.
[The news] has caused much uproar among Knut fans in Germany, who are angry over reports that the animal will be “stuffed.” They have also used an online memorial book for Knut on the zoo’s website to demand that the polar bear be given a proper burial.
Steiner insists that the animal will not be “stuffed” but , instead, will be prepared using a form of taxidermy that involves stretching the animal’s hide over a plastic form made in its size.
Stuffed, or skinned and stretched over plastic, whatever. Is there anything that Knut can contribute to the field of natural history, other than simply being a tourist draw? Although I realize this is done to animals all the time, it just seems wrong to do it to a media darling like Knut — like preparing and displaying a child film star. I, for one, wouldn’t be tempted in the least to go see him there.