His name is Knut. You may know him; at only a few months old, some sources say he's on occasion surpassed Britney as the most searched term on the Internet.
For those of you not already acquainted with this little bundle of adorableness, let me share a few photos, and more photos. Intrepid Media's ladies have agreed that Knut is sugar-coma inducing cute (for those with premium access, see our boards). I think few would disagree. One Yahoo! reported called Knut cuter than Rachel Bilson , to which I can only say, "well of course you hack."
But Knut found himself in the media spotlight not merely because he is tres-cute: his story is also tragic and dramatic. After he and his brother were abandoned by their mother (resulting in his brother dying from neglect), Knut was fostered by zookeepers who fed him by hand in order to keep him alive.
And that's when animal rights activist Frank Albrecht suggested that the Zoo should kill Knut, because "Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws".
Such an outrageous contention, of course, deserves my undivided attention. I traveled to Berlin to get the story first hand, in a one-on-one interview with Knut himself.
Walker: What's your reaction to the suggestion by Mr. Albrecht that you should be killed because you would have not survived in the wild?
Knut: Well, can I be direct with you?
Walker: Of course.
Knut: That guy is a real ice hole.
Knut: Seriously though, I told him to say that stuff.
Knut: Really. I told him to say that stuff. It was all a set-up. I mean, look at me. Who in their right mind would ever advocate killing me?
Walker: I can think of no one.
Knut: The original quote by Mr. Albrecht was quite boring and merely regarded how he felt animals should be handled in captivity. I had my people talk to his people, and throw in some gibberish about how the zoo should have killed me, and, viola! Instant media uproar! It was genius, don't you think?
Walker: How so?
Knut: Did you not just report that I have, on occasion, surpassed Britney as the most searched term on the internet?
Knut: I knew that the thought of killing a cute baby bear would have Ami people flocking to me in no time.
Walker: I think I just learned a new slur.
Walker: Don't worry about it. Listen...
Walker: So you've gone to a lot of trouble to get the attention. So what's the message you are tring to convey?
Knut: Adopt us.
Walker: Excuse me?
Knut: Well, I'm sure you've seen Al Gore's movie.
Walker: I'm familiar with the project.
Knut: You know the computer generated sequence with the swimming Polar bear that can't find any ice to climb on?
[Writer's note, in case you have not seen the film and this particular footage, might I recommend a re-mixed version of the clip accompanied by a song by Mims.]
Knut: Forget Maddox and Pax, and all those orphan kids in China. Those kids will all be alright, because tomorrow, they'll still have something to walk on. It's polar bears, more than any other species, that needs good homes. Our land is disappearing as a direct result of you. How can you not act right now and bring a polar bear into your home?
Walker: Do you really believe this is viable solution to the growing climate problem?
Knut: Listen, we Polar bears know you spend record amounts of money on your pets. And we know that you have the technology to create indoor habitats suitable for us bears. For heaven's sake; you guys got Polar bears living in San Diego, and from what I hear, those guys got it pretty good. Besides, we know you love Polar bears. It's because of us you buy Coke, Icees and Klondike bars.
In helping to spread his message, Knut hired me to write an anthem to promote the adoption of Polar bears by families. So, without further ado, I give you, the polar bear song (click on song link on page).
A practicing attorney and semi-professional musician, Walker writes for his own amusement, for the sake of opinion, to garner a couple of laughs, and to perhaps provoke a question or two, but otherwise, he doesn't think it'll amount to much.
ABOUT JEFFREY D. WALKER
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4.16.07 @ 9:34a
That song is hilarious, and would surely beat Superlaser in a battle of the bands.
There's no way Knut is going to be released into the wild, right? So, since zoos save animals all the time, why not just let him stay in the zoo?
I mean, I'm not that big of an advocate of zoos, simply because giraffes don't seem to enjoy Iowa winters. But there's no denying that many animals are saved because of zoos' conservation efforts.
4.16.07 @ 9:48a
Knut will remain safe in his zoo, where we all can visit him. Go say hi if you get the chance... or, adopt him.
4.17.07 @ 10:05a
That song is knuts.
4.17.07 @ 10:37a
so is the author.
in case you missed the lyrics:
"the Polar Bear song"
(Jeff Walker / aaronspeiser on drums)
Bring a Polar bear into your life
Bring a Polar bear home to your wife
It's your fault they're losing their land
Now Polar bears need a helping hand
So bring a Polar bear, into your home
Before they have no where else to roam
It's your fault they're losing their ice
But they shouldn't have to pay the price
Driving your car has implications
On the whole Polar bear population
Bring Polar bears back to your place
Open your arms to a polar embrace
It's your fault they're losing their ice
Though they hate to be so precise
Polar bears now have expectations
They're going need your invitations
Unlock your door and say congratulations
Or maybe they will take reparations
Or give them their own Polar bear nation
Or maybe build Polar bear reservations
4.18.07 @ 12:54a
Heh. Heh heh.
Oh no! Knut is sick. From the site:
Knut is not feeling well and had his daily public appearance in front of thousands of visitors cut short Monday, April 16, 2007 after only 30 minutes. The zoo's veterinarian, Andre Schuele, put the 4-month old cub on antibiotics and said the Knut is 'off stage to get some rest while we watch him closely.'
4.18.07 @ 8:23a
This makes me sad. He's such a cute one.
4.23.07 @ 9:50a
Knut's mother must be insane. No other explanation. At least he's safe from the clubbing of his baby species mates.
Get well soon, Knut!
3.19.11 @ 8:20p
Also and belatedly, Walker, you should get on Nissan for taking your lyric ("Driving your car has implications/On the whole Polar bear population") and running with it.
3.19.11 @ 9:12p
OH NO! I am saddened.