"New Knuts" vanish from Nuremberg zoo

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Two polar-bear cubs which had been hailed as the successors to Knut, a white Berlin cub shown worldwide last year on TV, have suddenly vanished from their zoo den.

7th January 2008

Nuremberg (dpa) - Keepers at Nuremberg Zoo suspect their mother, Vilma, ate them while she was hungry.

A keeper checked out Vilma's den and saw no sign of the cubs.

Chief executive Dag Encke said the cubs may have been sick, as it was common for carnivores to cull any of their young that became weak.

The zoo is now hoping that another female, Vera, which recently had cubs, will not get the same idea.

Knut was rescued from his mother in late 2006 and bottle fed, and later played every day with his keeper to the delight of crowds. Knut is now too big and dangerous to play with humans.

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