Outdoing Time's recent cover for arctic cuteness, Vanity Fair Deutschland has devoted its most recent cover story to Knut (pronounced "k'noot"), the baby polar bear that's been making headlines in his native Germany and beyond since being rejected by its mother and bottle-fed to survival. Knut went public to huge crowds at the Berlin Zoo on March 23 (aka "Knut Day"). The runup to Knut's debut saw plenty of drama, with animal rights activist Frank Albrecht demanding that Knut be put to sleep because he had been raised to rely upon humans too much (leading Germany's conservative tabloid Bild to ask "Will Sweet Knut Be Killed by Injection?" and the UK's Sun to put it more bluntly: "Killl tame bear, say animal nuts"). Happily, Knut survived this early brush with death. Not so lucky: the Berlin's Zoo other celebrity-in-residence, 22-year old Chinese-born panda Yan Yan, who died shortly after Knut's debut. The backlash was swift, blaming Knut for the swarming crowds that stressed her to death. some say as a result of stress induced by the frenzy of visitors (a post-mortem revealed that Yan-Yan had died of heart failure triggered by constipation). The mourning over the passing of Yan Yan has done nothing, however, to dampen Knut's rise to the top of Germany's celebrity firmament (including, most recently, a song called "Knut Ist Gut") (though people have yet to go so far as to make a serious proposal to have Knut replace the black bear in Berlin's coast of arms). The issue of VF also features Patrick Dempsey looking dreamy. Der Spiegel has more, plus a cute video ("There's no one who can say that he's not cute, that he's not nice"). That's all; this seemed sort of appropriate for April 1st.
Update: The New York Post brings news that Knut will be hitting the states next month, when he shares the cover of Vanity Fair's upcoming green issue with Leonardo Dicaprio. Synergie in Effekt!