Knut the polar bear went from being a polar bear born in captivity in Berlin Zoological Garden to becoming a popular icon who won the hearts of many
Knut was rejected by his mother at birth and so was raised by the zoo keepers. He was the first cub born in captivity in Berlin zoological garden to live past infancy in more than thirty years. Knut went from being an object of international controversy to become a popular icon and a commercial success. It is said that Knut the polar bear made over five million euros for berlin zoo in 2007 alone.
Knut the polar bear become a mass media phenomenon across the globe and lead to the making of toys, media specials, DVDs and books. His image became one of environmentalism and was said to be able to have the ability to draw peoples attention to environmental issues in a nice way rather than a aggressive way. The polar bear was even chosen as a mascot by the German environment minister Sigmar Gabriel in 2008 for a conference he was giving on endangered species. A feature film was also made about knut the polar bear. It was an animated film which shows the story of Knut the polar bear and also the story of a polar bear family in the Arctic
The controversy began when a german tabloid quoted a animal rights activist saying that because the polar bear was rejected by its mother it should be put down and because it was being razed by the zookeepers the zoo was violating animal legislation protection. There was a massive reaction against this with children protesting outside the zoo and emails and letters of sympathy for the cubs life were sent in from around the globe.
You can read more about Knut the polar bear here
Also check out polar bear endangered