The first pictures have emerged of Germany’s newest star baby animal, one with a connection to another internationally famous animal.
Anori is the three-month-old half sister of Knut, the baby polar bear who became internationally famous when he was raised by zookeepers at the Berlin Zoo after being rejected by his mother at birth in 2006.
The two animals share a father, Lars, whose new mate, Vilma, gave birth to Anori on Jan. 4, at the Wuppertal Zoo in western Germany, according to a press release from the zoo.
Anori, alongside Vilma, made her high-profile debut at the zoo on Thursday, to the sounds of clicking cameras and the sight of many curious eyes.
When Knut made his debut in 2006, he sparked a phenomenon known as “Knutmania” that spanned the globe and spawned toys, TV specials, books and DVDs. Attendance at the Berlin Zoo soared.
Anori’s debut is already drawing big crowds. Zoo officials said Anori is the newest ambassador for an endangered species that, wildlife experts say, could be extinct in 40 years if the current rate of sea ice melt continues.
Knut died prematurely last March at only four years old. Zoo officials said it was an extremely early death for a species that can usually survive 20 years in captivity.
Unlike Knut, Anori will be taken care of by her mother. Vilma appeared attentive and gentle with her new cub during their joint moment in the spotlight on Thursday. Television footage captured Anori playing in her cage, nursing with Vilma and adjusting to the human eyes now focused her way.
Anori was one of two cubs born to Vilma. The other died one week after birth.
That was the same fate that befell Knut’s twin brother too. He was also rejected by their mother at birth and then died a few days later from an infection.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.