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Polar bear cub too roly-poly, must go on diet

Wed., Aug. 1, 2007

BERLIN – No more croissants for Knut the polar bear cub – the Berlin zoo is putting its most famous resident on a diet.

Knut, whose legendary cuteness has doubled zoo attendance since his debut in March, is now 8 months old and weighs about 132 pounds. More than Knut’s actual weight, it was his physical appearance that persuaded the zoo’s staff to make the change, zoo veterinarian Andreas Ochs said Tuesday.

“If Knut would live outdoors, this wouldn’t be so bad – he would simply build up his fat reserves for the winter,” he said. However, in captivity, the bear won’t need to fend off a grim winter.

Knut, who now gets a special porridge of milk, meat, cod liver oil and vitamin supplements, will soon graduate to fish and solid meat. But his four daily meals will be reduced to three – and “extras like croissants will need to be dropped,” Ochs said.

The Berlin daily B.Z. quoted Knut’s keeper, Thomas Doerflein, as saying that “Knut likes to nibble in between meals.”


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