A rival zoo was claiming custody of the beloved international symbol of survival

By Stephen M. Silverman
July 09, 2009 07:20 AM
Michael Kappeler/Colourpress/JPI; Markus Schreiber/AP

The dust has settled – or are those ice chips? – and Knut the Polar Bear will stay put, now that the Berlin Zoo has settled a bitter custody battle with the Neumünster Zoo, home of Knut’s father, to allow the 3-year-old to remain in Berlin … at a cost of $600,000.

Originally, say news reports, the Berlin Zoo offered Neumünster nearly $500,000 for Knut – but Neumünster was holding out for a cool $1 million before a judge intervened.

Knut (pronounced: Newt) and a sibling were born to the Berlin Zoo’s female polar bear, Tosca, and the Neumünster Zoo’s male polar bear, Lars, who was strictly on loan to Berlin – on the condition, insisted Neumünster, that Lars’s first offspring would be theirs.

After the birth, Tosca rejected her cubs, and Knut’s sibling died. Knut survived and became a beloved international figure and tourist draw, to say nothing of an inspiration for a line of toys, puzzles, posters, T-shirts and cell phone ring tones.

In announcing the legal settlement Wednesday, Berlin Zoo director Bernhard Blaskiewitz touted the deal as not only “amicable” but “the best solution for Knut.”
from Huffington Post
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