Knut the Berlin polar bear may live on ... 

I'm sure you've already heard that Knut the polar bear died in the Tiergarten Zoo in Berlin. When he was just a snowball, his mother abandoned him, and a zoo keeper named Thomas Dorflein stepped into the mummy role. Only four years old, Poor Knut died unexpectedly of unknown causes on March 19th.  But he may live on.  The city's natural history museum may have him stuffed and put on display.  Thoughts?  Is preserving a beloved familiar a crass gesture of mastery?  Or is it a proper tribute? 

By the way, don't watch any Kamut videos.  Somebody caught his death on tape and posted it. Not nice.


Top the Wombat

Dante Gabriel Rossetti had a wombat named Top. Top the wombat died on November 6th, 1869 just two months after he joined the famous poet and painter’s equally famous menagerie in Chelsea. Rossetti_wombat.jpgBesides Top, Rossetti had a barn owl named Jessie, two armadillos, rabbits, a raccoon that hibernated in a chest of drawers, wallabies, kangaroos, parakeets and peacocks, an Irish deerhound called Wolf, a Japanese salamander, two laughing jackasses, a Canadian woodchuck, and a Pomeranian Puppy called Punch. Rossetti was known to prefer “quaint, odd, or semi-grotesque animals,” and of all his creatures he was especially fond of Top. In fact, he had desired a wombat for some time, and when Top finally arrived, he proved to be, in Rossetti’s own words, “a joy, a triumph, a delight, a madness.” Top followed Rossetti around the house, ate visitors’ straw hats, and got on famously with the rabbits. But Top was lumpish and sickly, and despite the attentions of a dog doctor, he finally succumbed to a mange-like disease. Rossetti’s famous ink sketch of himself tearfully mourning Top is surely satirical but not without genuine sentiment with the loss of his eccentric pet: Rossetti promptly ordered a wombat replacement and had Top stuffed and stationed in the front hall.