Berlin Zoo Introduces Children's Book

The Associated Press
Thursday, July 26, 2007; 3:23 PM

BERLIN -- The Berlin Zoo introduced its first authorized children's book about Knut, their famous and lucrative polar bear cub.

The 44-page book, which came out Thursday in Germany, features previously unpublished photos of the baby bear that has come to be known as "Cute Knut."

"Knut, der kleine Eisbaerenjunge" _ or "Little Polar Bear Knut" _ chronicles the cub's life and includes educational information on how climate change endangers polar bears.

"Knut is a fantastic ambassador," Berlin Zoo director Gerald Uhlich said Thursday, adding that he hoped the book by Craig Hatkoff would raise awareness of how humans can help endangered species such as polar bears.

Aside from increased ticket income, the zoo is profiting from an array of Knut products, such as a Knut DVD and stuffed toy versions of the cub.

Publisher Ravensburger, which puts out children's books, printed 30,000 copies for the country's first edition and said the second edition is already at the press. A third edition is planned.

The book will be published in the United States by Scholastic Inc. this fall under the title, "Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World." Rights to the book have also been sold to publishers in Japan, England, Mexico, China and Italy, Ravensburger said.

Since his birth on Dec. 5, 2006, Knut has attracted worldwide attention, even appearing on the May cover of Vanity Fair magazine with actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Knut is now eight months old and weighs 132 pounds. At this size, he is potentially dangerous, and the zoo, concerned with safety, recently ceased his daily public play dates with keeper Thomas Doerflein. Doerflein raised the cub after he was abandoned by his mother at birth.

Knut welcomed his millionth visitor on July 5, showing he has not lost his star power even as he rapidly grows.


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