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Knut Model Goes On Display In Germany

Knut, the polar bear who became famous when his mother rejected him and he was reared by a zookeeper, has gone on display as a life-sized model.

The sculpture is based on his skeleton in one of his favourite poses, and is covered in the animal's real fur in a procedure known as dermoplasty.

But Berlin's natural history museum, which is housing Knut in its foyer for a month, is keen to stress he has not been stuffed.

The building's entrance has been modified for the rush of visitors expected to see the model, which director Johannes Vogel said has expressive eyes and a damp nose.

The bear, who died suddenly of an epileptic fit in March 2011, was the star attraction at Berlin zoo during his four-year life.

Thousands of visitors queued for hours to watch him frolic in his enclosure, and he inspired an array of merchandise.

One of his many fans was Karin Gude-Kohl who came to see her favourite animal, wearing three Knut photographs on her jacket.

"The fur is the only original part that remains of him. Now he is on display here and as a big Knut fan, I would like to underline that this exhibition was not created out of a sensation but to remember him," said Ms Gude-Kohl.

"It was a unique animal. Knut was a world-renowned star and to us, Knut was the eighth wonder of the world."

Pensioner Inge Berg and her husband Klaus were among the first visitors to see the model when the museum doors opened to the public.

"We witnessed his upbringing from his birth and how he then grew older," Mr Berg said.

"Through television, we had a very close relationship with him. We have three films about him," he added.