U.S. News

Celebrity Polar Bear Sends Zoo Stock Through The Roof


A global fervor around the celebrity German polar bear cub known as "Knut" has reached the
stock market, with shares in Zoologischer Garten Berlin more than doubling this week.

The zoo, which registered the cub as an official brand last week, has enjoyed a huge influx of visitors following the debut of the three-and-a-half month-old polar bear.

"Never before did we think of registering a trademark for an animal name," said Zoo manager Gerald Uhlich.

"But we succeeded and it works amazingly well. Within just two days, a worldwide trademark was born. Our shares are almost exploding," he said.

Shares in Zoologischer Garten Berlin, which are listed on the Berlin Stock Exchange and normally see very light trade at a price close to 2,000 euros, have more than doubled this week, closing at 4,820 euros today.

"I think investors hope that the financial situation of Berlin zoo will improve further. This is of course the reason why the shares went up so much over the past few days," said Joerg Walter of Berlin's Stock Exchange board of directors.

Knut has made it into newspapers and magazines all over the world and companies have started to cash in on his cuddly and cute looks by releasing songs about him, or creating fluffy soft toys or raspberry flavored sweets in his image.

"Demand is enormous: people also ask for cups and keyrings, anything to do with Knut. There is more that could be done," said Petra Voltz, who sells souvenirs at the zoo.

Knut, who appears for only two hours each day, is also on the cover of this week's German language version of Vanity Fair magazine.