Knut Mania Triggers Rift at Zoo

Polar bear's promoter leaves in dispute over marketing
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 13, 2007 4:30 PM CST

(Newser) – A savvy marketing campaign that turned cuddly Knut into the world's most famous polar bear has driven a wedge between his human handlers. The Berlin Zoo's finance director, the man who made Knut the poster bear for global warming and turned a tidy profit for the zoo in the process, has left on not-so-amicable terms after the zoo's director complained of the never-ending cult of Knut, the Times reports.

“We have 14,000 animals,” said the chief. “It has become a bit of a theater, a pandemonium." But Gerald Uhlich said he had "nothing to be ashamed of." The zoo "has gained a very positive image in Germany and across the world.”  It certainly has: Knut has drawn 2 million visitors, and his accomplishments as a symbol for climate protection include sharing the cover of Vanity Fair with Leonardo DiCaprio.