Ooh la la: Knut the polar bear to get Italian girlfriend

7th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

The two-year-old Gianna, named after Italian rock singer Gianna Nannini, will be moved from Hellabrunn zoo in Munich and introduced to the strapping snow-white Knut in mid-September.

Berlin -- Knut the polar bear, who became a worldwide media sensation as a cub in 2007, will soon be joined in Berlin zoo by Gianna, a female companion originally from Italy, German reports said on Thursday.

The two-year-old Gianna, named after Italian rock singer Gianna Nannini, will be moved from Hellabrunn zoo in Munich and introduced to the strapping snow-white Knut in mid-September, daily Tagesspiegel said, citing a zoo official.

Knut drew an outpouring of sympathy around the globe after his mother cast him out as a cuddly cub.

He is now also two and will only reach sexual maturity in another two years. Because he has not encountered other polar bears since his early childhood, special measures will be put in place to ensure the meeting runs smoothly.

According to Tagesspiegel, the zookeepers will erect a so-called "canoodling fence" where the bears will be able to become acquainted before being allowed unfettered access to each other.

This could take days or even weeks.

The paper quotes Heiner Kloes, bearkeeper at Berlin zoo, as saying he is confident the good-natured Knut will instinctively get on well with Gianna.

However, Gianna herself is carrying some baggage. She had to be separated from another bear, 10-year-old Yoghi, as the two did not see eye-to-eye.

Gianna, described by mass circulation Bild as a "racy Italian", was later moved to live with 32-year-old Lisa -- who happens to be Knut's grandmother. Her stay in Berlin is expected to be temporary.

Contacted by AFP, neither Munich nor Berlin zoo could confirm the reports.

AFP/Expatica

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