New York Times reporter Nicholas Kulish filed a light story from Berlin Friday on tributes to Knut, the cute, internationally famous polar bear who died last year: “In Death as in Life, Knut the Polar Bear Demands Attention.” But Kulish also included some of Al Gore’s guff about global warming driving polar bears into extinction that made good picturesbut were evetually shown to be without factual basis.
Whether one bear needs three memorials in a single city is debatable. For Knut the polar bear, that unusual, some might be tempted to say excessive, distinction is on the verge of becoming a reality.
Last month, fans unveiled a white marble marker for the fifth birthday of the world-famous cub at a graveyard in the far western neighborhood of Spandau. At the Natural History Museum in central Berlin, officials say plans are proceeding to mount an exhibit in Knut’s honor, with his stuffed remains as the centerpiece, despite controversy. And the Berlin Zoo plans to dedicate a bronze statue in March on the first anniversary of his death.
Knut arrived on the scene at a moment when global warming was a growing topic, born the same year that the climate-change film “An Inconvenient Truth,” starring Al Gore, was released. The bear’s personal peril seemed to reflect that of his species. Knut’s brother died after they were abandoned, but the future star was saved by Mr. Dörflein, who moved into the zoo temporarily to care for him.
Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” claim that polar bears were drowning in the Arctic because of melting ice packs has since been discredited.