Will Knut the Bear Like His Italian Playmate Gianna?

Germany's famous polar bear Knut is making headlines again.

He is going to have a new companion. Gianna, a three-year-old female polar bear from Munich has arrived from Munich and Knut's days as a bachelor may soon be over.

However, young Gianna, named after Italy's rockstar Gianna Nanini, was not brought to Berlin to mate with Knut.

She and two other polar bears were in need of a temporary home as their quarters at Munich's zoo are being renovated and the zoos in Berlin were happy to put them up.


Gianna and Knut have not met yet; they are being kept in separate bear enclosures for the time being.

Veterinarian Heiner Klös told journalists in Berlin, "Gianna needs a bit of time to recover from the trip and she needs to get used to her new enclosure. We hope that Knut will like his new friend and that she will also be interested in him."

He added that the two bears will be kept on opposite sides of a fence for now, but they can get to know each other through the bars over the next few days.

Inundated by many calls from all over Germany inquiring whether Knut was to become a daddy, zoo director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz issued a statement yesterday saying that the two bears are not yet sexually mature.

"It will be another two years before they are sexually mature, but of course we hope that they will like each other and that Gianna will be a great companion for Knut. We'll present them to the public next week after they have had time getting to know each other."

This will be the first time that Knut, who was reared by his keeper after his mother Tosca had rejected him, will meet with a member of his own species.