Knut Who? Snowflake Melts Hearts at Public Debut

Nuremberg Zoo's celebrity polar bear cub Snowflake made her first public appearance Tuesday. She charmed the international media and even took a little dip in the pool of her enclosure.


Nuremberg Zoo's celebrity polar bear cub Snowflake made her first public appearance Tuesday in front of hundreds of media representatives from around the world.

The little cub did not seem bothered by the assembled photographers and journalists, and happily romped around her enclosure. Accompanied by her keepers, she explored her surroundings, playing with her human carers and even going for a swim in the enclosure's pool. Live television pictures of the bear were transmitted around the world, even as far as Japan.

Fans of the bear, who now weighs almost 22 kilos (48 pounds), can see her in the fur from Wednesday. The zoo expects up to 25,000 visitors a day, who will be allowed to see the bear in groups at 15-minute intervals.

At a press conference Tuesday ahead of Snowflake's debut, the zoo's director Dag Encke called for action against global warming which was threatening the natural habitat of polar bears. "The greenhouse effect is literally taking away the polar bears' habitat from under their feet," the zoo's director, Dag Encke, told reporters. "People shouldn't see Snowflake as a little teddy, but as a symbol."

Snowflake was born in Nuremberg Zoo last December and has been hand-reared by a team of four keepers since January when she was taken away from her mother Vera who kept dropping her on the hard rock floor.

dgs/dpa

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