Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Azerbaijan – Polar Bears

Azerbaijan Postal Department issued these pretty stamps on the displayed minisheet in 2007 to popularize the Polar bear named Knut. Knut (born 5 December 2006) is a polar bear who was born in captivity at the Zoologischer Garten Berlin. Rejected by his mother at birth, he was raised by zookeepers. He was the first polar bear cub to survive past infancy at the Berlin Zoo in more than thirty years. When Knut was born, he was no bigger than a snowball and unable to care for himself. His mother didn't know how to take care of Knut and rejected him. Knut would have died if it weren't for Thomas Dorflein, a zookeeper who nurtured Knut and gave him the love and attention he needed to thrive. The adorable little polar bear captured the world's attention, and now Knut is loved around the globe. At one time the subject of international controversy, he became a tourist attraction and commercial success. After the German tabloid newspaper Bild ran a quote from an animal rights activist that seemingly called for the death of the young cub, fans worldwide rallied in support of his being hand-raised by humans. Children protested outside the zoo, and e-mails and letters expressing sympathy for the cub's life were sent from around the world.
Knut became the centre of a mass media phenomenon dubbed "Knutmania" that spanned the globe and spawned toys, media specials, DVDs, and books. Because of this, the cub was largely responsible for a significant increase in revenue, estimated at about five million euros, at the Berlin Zoo in 2007 Zoo attendance figures for the year increased by an estimated 30 percent, making it the most profitable year in its 163-year history.

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