Germany frets over 'bullied' Knut's love life
Knut, the polar bear in Berlin's zoo that shot to global fame as a cub, is reportedly being bullied by a trio of older females, causing the country's media to worry about the superstar's love life.
"Knut, the public's favourite, has become a heap of misery," said Germany's mass-selling daily Bild. "Instead of enjoying himself with the three ladies, he cowers fearfully in a corner," added the more staid Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
For several weeks, the three-year-old bear has shared his zoo enclosure with his mother, Tosca, and two other females, Nancy and Katjuscha.
But hopes that Knut might form a romantic attachment with one of the females appear to have been dashed as stories emerged of violent maulings.
One video posted online showed Katjuscha hurling herself at Knut's throat, in an apparent attempt to bite him, before tipping him into the water.
"These sad images of Knut are pulling the heartstrings of people around the world," said Bild.
But Heiner Kloes, Knut's keeper, downplayed the affair, telling AFP it was "only two minutes in the life of a bear."
"It was a small altercation that is completely normal among bears," he said, underlining that the four bears were still getting used to living together.
"For the time being, Knut is not yet an adult male and doesn't yet know how to get respect like his father did. But day by day, he is imposing himself and with time, this type of problem will go away," he said.
© 2010 AFP