Polar Bear Knut Smacked on First Date (But It's a Good Thing!)
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.
Because the bears are still young – not quite 3 – their relationship won't progress past platonic for some time. And it's anybody's guess if Gianna will have feelings for Knut when they reach sexual maturity. Still, it was a promising first date for a bear just learning to get on with his own kind.
Shortly before he died last year Thomas Dorflein, the zookeeper who raised Knut by hand, said "Knut should be weaned from his close contact with humans. He should become a bear." On Tuesday, Knut's new friend began showing him how.
Read more about Knut on People.com:
Knut to Stay Put – in Berlin