Knut, the polar bear, was born at Berlin Zoo last December to a mother who immediately rejected him.
The bear was at the centre of a media storm, after an animal rights activist was quoted criticising the zoo's decision to bring Knut up among humans.
In March, Knut began appearing in public with his keeper, Thomas Doerflein.
The pair's playful antics delighted zoo visitors. Knut and his keeper rapidly became household names.
Businesses were quick to capitalise on the baby polar bear's popularity and Berlin Zoo made Knut's name a trademark.
As the cuddly baby bear slowly acquired the bulk of a polar predator, the zoo said it would have to limit the time it spent with his keeper.
Having called time on his daily romps with Mr Doerflein, Berlin Zoo wants Knut to start spending more time with fellow bears.