- Title: GERMANY: Berlin Zoo visitors worry about Knut's health
- Date: 21st April 2007
- Summary: EMPTY ENCLOSURE NORMALLY USED FOR KNUT OUTINGS TREE STUMP KNUT USUALLY PLAYS AROUND WITH
- Embargoed: 6th May 2007 13:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Environment / Natural World
- Reuters ID: LVA6IQ50WELBZY98DDVOZL5QVQR8
- Story Text: Germany's beloved polar bear cub, Knut, appears to be in poor health as he misses his public outings on Monday (April 16). Berlin Zoo's biggest attraction "Cute Knut" is feeling poorly. The little fluffy polar bear cub had his first visit to the outdoor enclosure cut short by 30 minutes on Monday (April 16) and missed out on his second outing completely.
"Knut is not as well as the days before. This morning, he acted absolutely normal, ate well and we were convinced everything was okay. He enjoyed going out into the enclosure, but then started acting a little strange, was a little listless, didn't want to go and play by the water," Berlin Zoo curator of bears Heiner Kloes told Reuters TV, adding: "The veterinarians checked him over and gave him some antibiotics prophylactically. It looks like something might be not 100 percent normal with his teeth. We think he is teething, which would be normal and might explain his acting. For now, he needs to rest, there is no outing for him this afternoon. However, we hope that he will be okay again tomorrow."
Visitors to the Zoo were disappointed but understood Knut needed rest. "It is such a pity, but I suppose it's best for the animal. If it has to be, I have to accept that he is just not well," Martina Schmitt said, having come from the northern town of Bremen around 400 kilometres from Berlin, just to see the polar bear cub.
"It's really bad, we drove 200 kilometres to see him. Not just him, but mostly," said another visitor.
Hundreds of visitors usually line up every day near the open air enclosure where the 4 1/2 -month-old polar bear cub goes on two outings each day.
Zoo officials recently put up a safety fence near the polar bears' enclosure and visitors were asked by megaphone to move on after 10 minutes to make way for the next group of people anxious to get a glimpse of the fluffy white star.
Knut stole the heart of Berliners after he was born in December but rejected by his mother Tosca. A bearded zookeeper moved into the enclosure to look after him round the clock.
But Knut's fate grabbed global attention after an animal rights campaigner said hand-rearing polar bears was a violation of animal rights. German media interpreted his comments as a call for Knut to be put to sleep.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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