When I was nine years old an event occurred that gripped the whole nation. In these days of more fragmented and diverse media outlets, it is doubtful that the birth of a baby animal would capture the heart of the nation the way that Brumas did. He was the first polar bear cub to be raised in Britain, and he was sensationally cute and cuddly. I remember his photos everywhere, day after day, and seeing footage of the bear shown in cinema newsreels. Admissions to the London Zoo went up from 1m to 3m as huge crowds queued up for a glimpse of the animal. The baby Prince Charles, himself just over a year old, was carried through the crowds to see Brumas.
I was given a bar of white soap in the shape of the white baby bear, with the name Brumas underneath, and I washed and bathed with it for weeks. There were Brumas money boxes on sale, as well as postcards and books, and of course cuddly little white teddy bears in the creature's likeness. He was apparently named after his keepers, Bruce and Sam (with the latter's name inverted).
It was later revealed that Brumas was in fact female, but had been mistakenly reported as male, and was widely thought of as a boy bear until much later. The sad epilogue to the story is that Brumas died only nine years later, achieving only half the average life span a polar bear generally lives for.