Knut's Keeper Says No More Public Playtime for Him

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

Berlin zoo on Monday said fast-growing polar bear cub Knut will no longer be making twice-daily public appearances with keeper Thomas Doerflein.

The playful pair have delighted audiences since Knut, then an irresistibly cute 9-kilogram (nearly 20 pounds) cub, made his first public appearance in late March.

Now nearing 50 kilograms, (about 110 pounds) the seven-month-old boisterous bear, who will remain on public view, will have his enclosure all to himself.

"Herr Doerflein can handle him still but the other keepers who also played with him are unable to control him. He is not listening to them anymore and that's why we have decided to not present him anymore at the bear enclosure," Berlin Zoo curator Ragnar Kuehne told AP Television.

Born December 5, Knut has been hand-raised by Doerflein and other zoo staff after his mother rejected him and another cub that died.

Knut went on public show March 23.

Doerflein said he would continue caring for Knut, although he will no longer play in public with the growing predator.

Doerflein added, however, that he feels "burnt out" after months of frolicking with Knut, and made clear that he has not always enjoyed being a celebrity in his own right.

Meanwhile Knut hasn't lost his drawing power even if he's growing up, and continues to attract visitors from all over.

"We come from Switzerland and we saw him on TV when he little now our daughter saw that he has grown up. This is an experience she can talk about at school. It is nice," said Swiss tourist Gianni Giacetto.

"It is the second time that we are here, We were here yesterday. There were a lot of people. Actually we came from Istanbul to see Knut and it is very nice,"another visitor Dilek Buk told AP Television on Monday.

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