Knut is back in the public eye

Berlin - Berlin's celebrity polar bear, Knut, returned to his public enclosure at the city's zoo on Sunday, still limping slightly after being treated for a slight injury to his right hind paw.

The bear, now grown to an adolescent, has been showing signs of teenage temperament, despite the painkillers he is still receiving.

"Knut threw a tantrum when he saw me," zoo vet Andreas Ochs said. "He clearly remembered exactly who had shot him with a tranquiliser dart."

Ochs described how Knut, who now weighs in at around 80kg, growled and snorted and even attempted to attack him.

The polar bear, who rose to fame through media publicity even before making his first public appearance in late March, apparently injured himself on Wednesday night.

Zoo staff were uncertain how the injury had occurred.

Ochs sedated the limping bear on Friday and X-rayed the limb, finding that it was not broken in any way.

The vet expressed confidence the bear would recover fully during the course of the week.

Knut's mother, Tosca, left him and his twin to die shortly after giving birth on December 5 last year. Knut survived, bottle-fed by his keeper, Thomas Doerflein, and amid considerable publicity, not all of it positive.

Some animal experts said he should have been allowed to die like his brother, saying that he was growing up with unnatural feelings towards humans.

Knut immediately proved a media star and helped fill the zoo's coffers.

In early July, the zoo put a stop to the daily shows in which Knut tumbled with Doerflein, saying this had become too dangerous for the keeper. At the end of July, it was announced that Knut was going on diet, as he was growing in girth. - Sapa-dpa

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