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Wildlife Camera » The Most Photographed Animals in the World

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Take it now — the best photo tip »

The Most Photographed Animals in the World

28 August 2007


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knut polar bear

According to an East African safari company, the most-photographed animals in the world are the Big Five – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.

But, to be accurate, the animals with the most clicks in 2007 are probably a young polar bear and half a dozen koalas.

The polar bear is Knut, an orphaned cub at Berlin Zoo. And the koalas are the stars in the zoo at Guangzho, China.

Surveys in Britain have suggested that about 6 per cent of photographers put animals at the top of the list of their favourite subjects. But when a star like Knut comes along, everyone rushes to take a portrait of the new celebrity.

The young bear was born on 5 December, 2006, and rejected by his mother, Tosca, a 20-year-old East German circus bear, originally from Canada. She did not like the look of her new twins, and left them out to die. Keepers rescued the cubs with a shrimping net. Only Knut survived, to become an instant hit with the public. Berlin is a famous zoo, with 14,000 animals of 1500 species — one of the largest collections in the world, attracting more than 3 million visitors — but Knut eclipsed everything else. On the day he was launched to public view, more than 400 Press photographers turned up for the photo call.

He attracted an extra million visitors in seven months, and when the zoo registered Knut as a trademark, Berlin Stock Exchange saw zoo shares jump from 2000 euros to more than 4820 euros in less than a week.

It has been estimated that 100 million photos of the young bear were taken this summer.

Unfortunately, polar bear cubs do not stay cuddly and cute for ever. By late summer, Knut was so large and powerful that he could no longer be trusted to join daily play sessions with the his keeper and had to join other bears for rougher but less photogenic games.

In China, the big attraction of the summer has been a breeding group of koalas, the first ever seen in the country, on loan to the zoo at Guangzho from a wildlife park in Queensland.

When they came out of quarantine in July, they were attracting 10,000 visitors a day. Enthusiasm for the Australian marsupials was described as “koala mania” and it was reported that “the digital cameras never stopped flashing.” – Willy Newlands (copyright) Photo of Knut, polar bear cub at Berlin Zoo, from Wikipedia.


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