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PETA -- Knut's Death Could Have Been Avoided

3/19/2011 4:44 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The tragic passing of Knut, everyone's favorite German polar bear, could have been prevented ... maybe ... this according to PETA.

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Knut passed away in his habitat this morning of still-to-be determined causes at the age of 4. A rep for PETA tells TMZ they contacted to Berlin Zoo months ago to alert them to the fact that Knut was being "terrorized" by three female polar bears -- including his own mother!

The rep tells us, "PETA Germany repeatedly asked zoo authorities to move Knut away from the three females to a different location. His premature death could possibly have been avoided. Polar bears don't belong in captivity."

A necropsy is planned for Monday to determine the cause of death.


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