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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
Bear cub craze thrills Berlin Zoo
Knut the baby polar bear on public view
Knut has become a German celebrity

Berlin Zoo is bracing for a record attendance over Easter weekend as its star attraction - the polar bear cub Knut - pulls in the crowds.

The media frenzy over Knut boosted visitor numbers to 200,000 in March - double the zoo's normal figure.

The German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung says Knut's popularity has pushed the zoo's shares up 67% since mid-January.

Knut, born last December, ignited a heated debate about hand-rearing after his mother rejected him.

Knut was brought up and bottle-fed by his keeper, Thomas Doerflein.

An animal rights activist said Knut should be killed rather than treated like a domestic pet - a suggestion that triggered a nationwide surge of affection for the cub.

Germans have been eagerly following his progress on television and the internet.

Baby bear becomes media star
23 Mar 07 |  Europe
Berlin rallies behind baby bear
20 Mar 07 |  Europe

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