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December 05, 2007

Happy Birthday, Knut!

A year ago Knut took the headlines in German news media for weeks on end. It is difficult to find anything more cuddly than a new born polar bear who has been rejected by its mother in the Berlin Zoo and has to be hand raised by his keeper. A whole nation breathlessly watched Knut's antics as wriggling in and out of his hammock, trotting after his keeper and chasing his keeper's heels, trying to bite off the nose of the biggest stuffed teddy bear you'd ever seen, learning to swim and so forth. Once Knut was old enough to come out into his open enclosure people were queuing up for hours to get into the zoo.

Knut became immensely popular. Just after his birth there had been a heated debate among animal lovers if he should be raised by his keeper or if nature should be allowed to take its course and Knut be allowed to die. Had he been born in the Arctic instead of a zoo he wouldn't have survived with his mother rejecting him. But who could keep his hands off a small white fluffy something with big dark round eyes peering inquisitvely into the world around him. Before the argument about his right to live had ended his keeper was feeding him with a bottle and Knut was growing fast.

Today Knut had a big party. His keepers gave him a big cake made of vegetables, fruits and ice. Although Knut is not a cuddly little thing anymore, weighing now about 115 kg, he is as fascinating to people as ever. Thousands came to see him today and treat him to a "Happy Birthday Knut"-song.

Trust the politician to try and use the Knut mania for their own devices. Our Minister of the Environment became his "godfather" when Knut was a few days old. Today he gave Knut a special birthday gift, saying that the German Government saved the Artic Ice for the polar bears by deciding to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions by 40% until 2020. It waits to be seen how that will work out.

In the meantime - Happy Birthday, Knut!

Posted by Mausi at December 5, 2007 06:39 PM

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