The bear that came in from the cold

It was a cold, dark night on the roof-garden of One Potsdamer Platz and the revellers from the "Meet the Bloggers" reception had long since retreated from the chilly heights to the cheery warmth of Olswang's office -- but one forlorn figure was left behind to brave the unforgiving elements. This little figure was a small, silky polar bear cub (pictured here). Clad only in his washable white coat, he shivered in dejection and misery as he pressed his nose against the windowpane, abandoned and alone.

Taking pity on his plight, the Olswang staff rescued him and brought him in. But what could they do next? A casual inspection revealed that he was not an INTA registrant because he didn't have a badge. Subsequent due diligence did not reveal his name. The words 'Knut' and 'Steiff' were found attached to him. However, they appeared guarantees as to the unity of the origin of both him and his many brothers. In short, he was a Knut bear and a Steiff bear, but not Knut Steiff.

This being so, it has been decided to put this sweet little fellow up for adoption, as a prize to whoever can suggest the best name for him. The closing date for suggestions is midnight (British Summer Time) on Monday 26 May. Please send your suggestions by email here, with the words "Knut Kompetition" in the subject line. Entries will not be individually acknowledged, but the best names will be published on this weblog.

For some helpful literature on the naming of polar bears, visit Class 46 and key the word "polar" into the little box next to the words 'Search blog'.
The bear that came in from the cold The bear that came in from the cold Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 Rating: 5


  1. Soft toys are subject to soft law: in particular the Convention on Biological Diversity. Before you do anything with this bear (who, incidentally, has just been declared an Endangered Species, increasing the trouble you're in), you must obtain Prior Informed Consent to access him (on Mutually Agreed Terms) from a) his Country of Origin b) the indigenous peoples on whose territory he arose. This will cause one or two practical difficulties, including determining his Country of Origin (Canada? Greenland? the Arctic?) and the appropriate government department (if there is one) that will give the required consent. Also you will need to negotiate with the Inuit (or one and which of them). There is also a grave (perhaps insuperable) theoretical difficulty, namely that since you have already accessed him, Prior Informed Consent is no longer logically possible. You may say that he is not strictly speaking a genetic resource, but this does not conclude the matter - he is (at least in the broad definition which some countries are pressing for) a Derivative of a Genetic Resource, owing his existence to the existence of his natural original. If you can find anyone to grant you access rights, be sure that these include rights to name him - a scientist recently spent time in a Brazilian jail for assigning systematic names to Brazilian species for which he lacked the proper access rights.

  2. "And the polar bear goes to... ?!!"


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