Polar Bear Knut Gets Unexpected Holiday Company

It looks like the pressures of the holiday season are flipping some people out already. Der Spiegel has a report up now about an incident in Berlin’s zoo: Man jumps into polar bear Knut’s enclosure.

You were aware of the Knut-the-polar-bear sensation of 2007, right? (Yes, that’s the link to his very own fairly-long Wikipedia page; feel free to go there and review!) EuroSavant was basically inactive for most of that time, and so remiss in its task of bringing to you all the German-press Knut coverage that you were dying to read about. Oh, and there was plenty of such coverage, believe you me. No less than Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel was crazy about Knut, along with everybody else.

Now it’s pretty late for too much of that, because of the same phenomenon as that experienced first-hand by parents the world over: from the original cute little bear-tyke that everyone wanted to come see cavorting, Knut has grown up into the equivalent of a polar bear teenager: big (now 200 kg, or 440 lb.), awkward-looking (OK, I don’t mean acne and braces, but check out this photo of him and his first-birthday “cake” from December, 2007), and hard to get along with – it was shortly before that first birthday that his zookeepers judged that he had become to dangerous for any more close human contact.

Sadly, it is perhaps the life of a child movie star that provides an even more-exact template to what has been happening with Knut as the flame of his celebrity has dimmed. Quite apart from the rejection by his mother that brought him to the Berlin Zoo in the first place, there has been further tragedy within the “family” as Knut’s earliest trainer and companion, Thomas Dörflein – that guy with the moustache, beard and ponytail of dark hair who always seemed to be there by little Knut’s side – died in September of a heart attack at the age of only 44. There has been a (German) Vanity Fair cover-shoot (by no less than Annie Leibovitz, I believe – I kid you not). There have been legal skirmishes at his periphery over money, as the Neumünster Zoo, which owns Knut’s father, has sued the Berlin Zoo for what it claims to be its share of the proceeds arising from its association with the bear. There has been concern about – and counter-measures for – his excessive weight. And of course there has already been much planning over the nature of and participants in his love-life – scheduled by Nature to kick in about a year from now, by which time Knut will likely have been moved to a more “swinging” polar-bear zoo. The only thing missing is an addiction to crystal meth and/or cocaine, although I suspect that the Berlin Zoo authorities have a pretty strong handle on what Knut has available to ingest at any given time.

But maybe that was what was behind that infiltration into his enclosure that Der Spiegel just reported – oftentimes the most reliable explanation for an otherwise baffling incident is that of a drug deal gone bad. However, although the 30-year-old intruder did get past both the fence and moat that guard Knut’s single-occupancy personal space, it seems that zoo personnel were able to lock the bear up in his cage before the man had any chance to find out just how hard to get along with he had become. When asked for an explanation as he was led away by the police, he just said that he was lonely and saw that Knut was, too. And he could very well have been right.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Comments are closed.