Friday, July 13, 2007

Our Knut The Cute Update: He's Too Big For His Handler, Now He's Out Lookin' For Chicks!

Fame and celebrity has it's price and for our pal and blog hero Knut, his 15 minutes of fame is fleeting. Yes folks, that's right, the Berlin Zoo said Monday that it has ended shows starring Knut, a polar bear who became an international sensation after surviving rejection by his mother as a cub. Spokeswoman Regine Damm said it was time for Knut, the cuddly white bear who has drawn more than one million visitors to the biggest zoo in the German capital in the last three and a half months, to go his own way.

The show will no longer take place as of today. It is because he has grown too big...he weighs almost 110 pounds! The zoo has ended 7-month-old Knut's twice-daily public appearances with keeper Thomas Doerflein, the keeper who raised him. "Mr. Doerflein's safety counts first of all, of course," zoo spokeswoman Damm said. The zoo also has Knut's independence in mind, she added, as it prepares the bear to "associate with other bears and not with other people."

The zoo in April began separating his handler from Knut, who will become increasingly dangerous as he gets older. But it said it was doing so gently to avoid any trauma. Doerflein said he remains on hand for Knut, although he will no longer play in public with the growing predator. "This doesn't mean that I will never play with Knut again; it just means there are no fixed times anymore," he was quoted as saying by the daily B.Z. "I am always there for him. Knut is still a child; he needs me."

The playful pair have delighted audiences since Knut - then an irresistibly cute 20-pound cub - made his first public appearance in late March. Our hero, the boisterous bear, who will remain on public view, will have his enclosure all to himself. The twice-daily show allowed the public to watch Knut splash in a pond, jump on rocks and play with his handler, who carefully removed the newborn from his aggressive mother's cage and bottle-fed him round the clock like a baby.

Knut hit the headlines in March when the media whipped up an outcry after an animal activist was quoted as saying that he should have been put down after he and his brother were rejected by their mother following their birth in December. Claims by the activist that he was misquoted were lost in the ensuing media storm.

Knut has been photographed for an environmental awareness campaign by US glamour photographer Annie Leibovitz and made a mint for the zoo, which trademarked Knut's name for use on t-shirts, posters, postcards and toy bears. The highly anticipated Knut picture by Leibovitz was released in the April 2007 issue. Leibovitz’s photo will serve as the cover for the upcoming "Green" issue of Vanity Fair magazine. The Knut and Leo were brought together through the magic of photograph editing. Knut’s picture was taken at the Berlin Zoo, while Leo was shot on location at a glacier in Iceland. And yes, this is the same Annie Leibovitz that told England's Queen Elizabeth that her cloak and crown was a bit ‘too dressy'.

I guess he's now beyong the cute, cuddly little teddy bear stage now. Doerflein and Zoo officals have said that they are now looking for a female polar bear for the teenage Knut. That way, he can sow his royal oats and create a bunch more little Knuts! Now there's some great thinking for the teenage boy! We'll keep you updated on the adventures of our blog mascot Knut the Cute!

Now that his 15 minutes are over, maybe he can go on the reality show, Big Brother!