Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

A world gone Knuts!

Berlin's famous polar bear Knut, who rose to international stardom as a cuddly cub hand-raised by zookeepers, has died (AP)

Mention the word celeb and you immediately think Jordan or Cheryl or Coleen. All Fake Bake Tan, hair extensions, silicone and an unhealthy taste for unnecessary soul-baring.

The Germans, however, take celebrity to an even wilder extreme. Or they have been doing until the premature death recently of one of their national stars.

Knut the polar bear.

Knut a WAG-ish confection in white fur with doe eyes and an impressive fan base hit headlines when he was rejected by his mother. (The sort of back-story an X Factor auditionee would kill for.)

Animal rights campaigners wanted the wee thing to be snuffed (human hand-rearing being considered unnatural and unhealthy) but the polar pro-life lobby ensued Knut was spared.

He went on to become a zoological mega-star.

Sadly this week he slipped off his iceberg (so to speak) after suffering some sort of seizure.

His fans are distraught. There is even talk of small children collapsing in shock and having to be counselled.

In the wild four-year-old Knut could have been taken out by any number of natural adversaries.

This has not assuaged the outpouring of German grief.

"He was a star," says Berlin's mayor (the mayor!) in tribute. "A star who died too early."

And we think our celeb culture is out of control ... .

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