Knut to Stay Put – in Berlin

Knut to Stay Put – in Berlin
Knut, grown up and as a cub in 2007
Michael Kappeler/Colourpress/JPI; Markus Schreiber/AP

updated 07/09/2009 at 07:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/09/2009 07:20AM

The dust has settled – or are those ice chips? – and Knut the Polar Bear will stay put, now that the Berlin Zoo has settled a bitter custody battle with the Neumünster Zoo, home of Knut's father, to allow the 3-year-old to remain in Berlin ... at a cost of $600,000.

Originally, say news reports, the Berlin Zoo offered Neumünster nearly $500,000 for Knut – but Neumünster was holding out for a cool $1 million before a judge intervened.

Knut (pronounced: Newt) and a sibling were born to the Berlin Zoo's female polar bear, Tosca, and the Neumünster Zoo's male polar bear, Lars, who was strictly on loan to Berlin – on the condition, insisted Neumünster, that Lars's first offspring would be theirs.

After the birth, Tosca rejected her cubs, and Knut's sibling died. Knut survived and became a beloved international figure and tourist draw, to say nothing of an inspiration for a line of toys, puzzles, posters, T-shirts and cell phone ring tones.

In announcing the legal settlement Wednesday, Berlin Zoo director Bernhard Blaskiewitz touted the deal as not only "amicable" but "the best solution for Knut."

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