Knut, grown up and as a cub in 2007
Michael Kappeler/Colourpress/JPI; Markus Schreiber/AP
It was a scene out of a Hollywood movie. Boy meets girl, boy gets too close to girl, girl smacks him! Only this time the scene was the Berlin Zoo polar bear enclosure, the boy was Knut – the world's cutest polar bear – and the girl was Gianna, currently on loan from the Munich Zoo.
And, in polar bear terms, that first date was a resounding success, especially for Knut: It was his first encounter ever with another polar bear. Indeed, Knut was "completely surprised and astounded" to see another bear in his enclosure, said zookeeper Heiner Klos.
Gianna is known for being a bit of a diva, but she and Knut were fine with each other. As zookeeper Klos said, "It was as we expected it to be. Knut was very shy and the Munich bear was clearly the one wearing the dirndl."
Since Gianna moved into the Berlin Zoo in early September, the two bears have been kept in adjoining enclosures so they can get used to each other's smells. When they were brought together on Tuesday morning, the zoo was particularly cautious. Several zookeepers were ready to intervene in case the encounter turned violent. Over the weekend, a brown bear in a zoo in northern Germany suddenly attacked and killed his female mate.
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