Polar bear Knut gets Italian girlfriend

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6 Aug, 2009 Updated Thu 6 Aug 2009 08:09 CEST
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The Berlin Zoo’s famous polar bear Knut will be getting an Italian girlfriend from Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo, daily Der Tagesspiegel reported on Thursday.

Three-year-old Gianna, who originally came to Germany from Italy, will likely arrive in Berlin around mid-September, according to head of the Hellabrunn Zoo Henning Wiesner.

Knut’s new girlfriend was named after Italian rock singer Gianna Nannini. She apparently did not get along with her last intended mate, the nine-year-old Yoghi, and had to move in with Knut’s grandmother Lisa.

Her stay in Berlin will only be temporary, the paper reported, adding that the Berlin Zoo has not confirmed her arrival.

So far Knut, who was hand raised after he and his brother were abandoned by their mother at birth, has had no contact with other polar bears. Though he won’t be mature enough to mate for another two years, he and Gianna will get acquainted through bars before they are placed in the same cage. This could take days or weeks, the paper reported.

He was the first polar bear to be born and mature in the Berlin Zoo in more than 30 years. His brother died shortly after birth, but little Knut survived and was raised by the late zookeeper Thomas Dörflein. The cuddly bear became a worldwide sensation, spawning countless souvenirs, stuffed toys, books and even an animated film.



2009/08/06 08:09

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