September 23, 2009 -- In December 2006 any German with a heart couldn't help falling in love with cute Knut. The first polar bear cub born in Berlin Zoo in over 30 years was rejected by his mother and raised by zookeepers, making headlines the world over. He was even featuring on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.
But all good things come to an end, and Knut has grown from an irresistible ball of fur to an ordinary-looking, albeit charismatic, polar bear who no longer pulls in the crowds. Since this weekend though, Germany has a new toddler to swoon over: a female baby rhinoceros in the north-western town of Münster who was separated from her mother "Emmi" just minutes after being born and will now be raised by her zookeepers.
According to zoo staff, the 18-year old herbivore had already killed two of her calves in the past, and had shown signs of nervousness and aggression during the birth on Sunday too. "Emmi kept pushing the little rhino into a corner," said biologist Dirk Wewers of Münster Zoo. "We decided to intervene after four minutes."
And there's no doubt they will have plenty to do to keep the little madam happy: the calf already weighs more than 58 kilograms and drinks gallons of milk a day. She is said to be healthy and will be presented to the public this week. She has yet to be named.
The baby rhino is currently resting under two heating lamps and is being stroked regularly. "Physical contact is extremely important for these animals," said Wewers.
On average, only three baby rhinoceroses are born in Europe annually, and very few survive outside of natural parks and reserves.