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Happy birthday, Knut!

Posted by Richard on December 5, 2007

Remember Knut, the polar bear cub hand-raised at the Berlin Zoo? Last March, I wrote about how animal-rights activists (who are more accurately described as anti-human activists) thought Knut should be killed rather than reared by humans to become an "inauthentic" polar bear.

Knut is one year old today, and they had a big celebration at the Berlin Zoo:

It's amazing how time flies. It seems like just yesterday that he was melting hearts with his fluffy white fur, cuddling with his keeper and posing for photos with other hot celebs like Leonardo di Caprio.

Now our little Knut is all grown up.

The Berlin Zoo celebrated its star attraction Wednesday with free entry for kids — a small sacrifice, considering that the former powder puff drew in as much as 10 million euros ($14.7 million) by more than doubling ticket sales over the past year. That doesn't count revenue generated by Knut paraphernalia.

According to Spiegel, Knut fans from all over the world came to Berlin for his birthday:

Many at the zoo on Wednesday were locals who have made a habit of regularly dropping by to check up on the polar bear. "When I am feeling bad, I come here to see him and I feel much better afterwards," said Berlin resident Ann Kreiner, 62, who had brought a stocking full of goodies for her ursine friend.

But a good number of Knut disciples were seeing their furry guru for the first time. The Caracas contingent was just one of a number of Knut bloggers who came for the event, all wearing scarves — reading "Dec. 5, Two Thousand and Knut" — so they could find each other. Judy Lydecker, 59, from Winsted, Connecticut, was one of them. She's visiting Berlin for just six days and plans to come to the zoo every day.

The Spiegel story links to two photo galleries, one of Knut today and one of his public debut last March, for those of you who need a cute furry creature fix. If you're really into cute — or Knut — check out the Kute Knut Enclosure, a blog all about Knut. You can sign a birthday card for Knut and find lots of pictures, poetry, and other Knut-related stuff.

Geburtstagsgrüße, Knut! You seem to be a pretty happy polar bear, and I'm glad crazies like Frank Albrecht didn't succeed in having you killed.

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