Germany’s national newspaper and source for all things polar bear related, Der Spiegel, has a breaking story out this morning about our favorite lil’ (?!) guy Knut. The headline states — and we quote — “END OF AN ERA: Knut Getting Steadily Less Cute.” Oh dear God no. It turns out, the once spoonable and perma-cuddly baby polar bear has actually begun to age and… grow bigger. As a result, he’s not as tiny as he used to be, and is starting to look more and more like an adult polar bear:
It’s a tragic fact of life. Celebrity polar bear cub Knut, now almost five months old, is gradually mutating from a fluffy porridge-lapping cub into a heavy bruiser with a penchant for meat off the bone. But the visitors are still flocking to see him.
Knut’s days of extreme cuteness are numbered now that he has acquired a markedly longer snout and weighs a chubby 17 kilograms (37 pounds), twice as much as when he first appeared before an adoring public five weeks ago.
Knut’s faithful handler Thomas DÃ¶rflein has taken to wearing long-sleeved shirts or pullovers and gloves to protect himself when he handles Knut. But the polar bear cub immediately obeys when DÃ¶rflein has had enough and tells him to stop biting him with the stern command “Aus!”
First of all, what is up with Germans and their obsession with “long snouts” (Note: They’re firmly anti.) More importantly, Knut’s aging is clearly turning into an international tragedy. Much like they treat their elderly citizens, it’s only a few years until we find Knut living in an efficiency apartment somewhere in Bavaria, covered in his own soil, sprawled on a couch watching soap operas while eating dog food out of a can. Maybe his trainer can command him to “aus” growing?
The good news is Knut is a survivor. He’s survived 5 months without a mother. He’s survived psychotic animal rights advocates. He’s survived a bad cold and a… stern German handler. We have full faith that he’ll somehow survive these new changes his body is going through (long snout, deeper growl, hair “down there”) and turn into the fierce emotionless killing machine his German handlers are training him to be! Good luck, new not-as-adorable Knuty!