Even Cuter? Knut's New Half-Sister Makes Public Debut

A polar bear cub who shares the same father as late Berlin celebrity Knut made her debut this week at the Wuppertal Zoo. But unlike her half-brother, wee Anori has not been abandoned by her mother. The cuddly pair delighted visitors with a romp around their enclosure, and zoo officials are optimistic about her future.


Famous polar bear Knut's mother may never get the polar bear mom of the year award, but his dad Lars is doing just fine and is now the proud papa of Anori, Knut's half-sister.

The cub was born Jan. 4 to Lars' new mate Vilma at the Wuppertal Zoo in western Germany. She made her public debut Thursday to a mass of clicking cameras and curious onlookers.

Anori's late older half-brother Knut, sired by Lars when he was on loan to the Berlin Zoo, became world famous after his mother Tosca rejected him and his brother shortly after giving birth in 2006. Knut's brother died several days later from an infection.

But Knut survived and was hand-raised by zookeeper Thomas Dörflein. The pair gained global fame, but in Sept. 2008 Dörflein died suddenly of a heart attack. The beloved bear's story took another tragic turn last spring when a brain defect caused him to collapse and fall into a pool in his enclosure. He drowned in front of shocked zoo visitors. He was only four.

New cub Anori doesn't just share her father Lars with her famous half-brother, though. In a strange coincidence, mom Vilma gave birth to two cubs, but one died a week later, just like Knut's twin brother.

German television reports of Anori's debut showed the cub frolicking around her cage, nursing and getting used to the public. "It's all gone really well," Wuppertal Zoo Director Ulrich Schürer said.

Judging from her behavior on Thursday, Anori's mother Vilma could teach Tosca a thing or two about parenting. She appears to be attentive, and zoo officials said she's been a caring and protective mom from the beginning.

--wid, with wire reports


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