After a bitter custody battle, the Berlin Zoo will pay $600,000 to keep the famous 3-year-old bear

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 Neumunster Zoo to allow the 3-year-old bear to remain in Berlin … at a cost of $600,000.

According to news reports, the Berlin Zoo originally offered Neumunster nearly $500,000 for Knut – but Neumunster, home of Knut’s father, 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 Neumunster Zoo’s male polar bear, Lars, who was strictly on loan to Berlin – on the condition, insisted Neumunster, that Lars’s first offspring would be theirs.

After the birth, Tosca rejected her cubs and Knut’s sibling died. But Knut survived and became a beloved international figure and tourist draw as well as the source of a marketing bonanza, inspiring a line of toys, puzzles, posters, T-shirts and cellphone ringtones.

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