One of Knut's caretakers, Markus Roebke, told reporters yesterday that "Knut needs to leave Berlin Zoo, the sooner the better. He's had so much contact with humans in his young life that he doesn't realize he's a polar bear, he needs to get used to a life without the people who brought him up ... He is addicted to the whole show, the human adulation. It is not healthy ... He actually cries out or whimpers if he sees that there is not a spectator outside his enclosure ready to ooh and aah at him ... When the zoo had to shut because of black ice everywhere he howled until staff members stood before him and calmed him down."
The Berlin Zoo's vet disagrees. Andre Schuele said, "Not so. I can't confirm that at all. Knut is making very good progress, he's growing up just fine, he's a very healthy animal, and everything is really normal."
I don't know if Knut is a psycho or just a lonely adolescent wild animal. I do know that everything is not "really normal." So far the only normal thing about Knut's life was his abandonment by his mother. His sibling died because of maternal neglect. Knut was saved from the normal course of events by anthropomorphising do-gooders.
This Britney Spears life was certainly not what was intended, but it's the only life Knut has now. Polar bears are solitary animals. Putting him into a closed environment with another polar bear is out of the question. Berlin zoologists have a real puzzle to solve: how to get a polar bear cub who thinks he's a human to accept he's a polar bear. Whatever they figure to do, just keep him away from hair clippers.