Sunday, March 25, 2007

The World Tiniest Celebrity
A Story Worth Reading!

Okay...if you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably think I don't have much of a heart. Well, you're wrong. For the past couple of weeks, I've been fascinated with the story of an abandoned polar bear named Knut. Knut was born in December and just made his first public appearance this week, though he's already been featured on TV. He and his late sister, Gnut, were the first polar bears to be born at the Berlin Zoo in 30 years. The Berlin ice hockey team has asked if Knut can be their mascot. Hmm... wonder why?

He's only 15 weeks old, but the Berlin Zoo's impossibly cute polar bear cub Knut already has become a sought-after media star in his home city with his own TV show and video podcast, a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz, a long-awaited public debut and he will be put on public view after building a following through the zoo's Internet site and daily pictures in newspapers. Fascination with the nearly 19-pound bear, has only grown in recent days, after headlines generated by an animal activist who insisted that the cub should have been left to die after his mother ignored him and his brother -- who later died -- after their birth in December.

Zoo officials intervened, instead, choosing to raise the cub themselves through bottle-feeding and keeping the cub in an incubator. The story earlier this week prompted quick condemnations from the zoo, politicians and other animal rights groups who argued that although the bear would be more used to humans than his counterparts in the wild, there was no reason not to have kept the cub alive.

"Polar bears are under threat of extinction, and if we feed the bear with a bottle, it has a good chance of growing up and perhaps becoming attractive as a stud for other zoos," Andre Schuele, another veterinarian at the zoo said. The fuss over "Cute Knut" continued on Wednesday with Germany's largest newspaper, Bild, publishing a Knut poster, matched by Berlin's own B.Z. tabloid. Knut, who recently posed for a photo shoot with star-photographer Annie Leibovitz for an environmental protection campaign, will star in a TV series documenting his life on Berlin's RBB public television station starting Sunday.

Knut relishes the attention he's receiving as "Berlin's tiniest celebrity." And for you convenience, and enjoyment, I have put together a little slide show of the little polar bear who has captured the heart of millions of people around the world. With all the crap that's going on in the celebrity world...Anna Nicole, Brittney Spears, March Madness, and countless other useless news stories that are out there in recent weeks, it's about time that we made a celebrity out of something good...and cute.

So, without further ado...let me introduce you to "Knut the Cute!"