Knut's zoo saves new polar bear cub after outcry (+ photos)

BERLIN - A zoo in southern Germany, under fire for letting a mother polar bear eat its five-week old cub, has bowed to media and public pressure and decided to hand rear its last surviving baby.

The decision by Nuremberg Zoo heralds a second bout of Knut-mania as German television pounced on the news and ran repeated footage of the new cub.

Two female bears - Vera and Wilma - gave birth to an unknown number of cubs in December and originally the zoo vowed not to intervene in their upbringing, saying nature should take its course.

But the public outcry after the zoo confirmed on Monday that one of the mothers had eaten a cub proved too great.

Top-selling Bild newspaper splashed the story on its front page on Tuesday under the headline "Polar bear mum eats her babies! Why weren't they saved like Knut?"

Helmut Maegdefrau, deputy director of the zoo, said keepers had changed their minds after they became concerned about the way Vera, the mother, was behaving with her cub.

Television pictures showed the mother bear carrying its cub, the size of young puppy, by its back side and dropping it head-first down several steps.

"(The mother) was clearly completely disoriented and wanted to carry the cub out of safety into another area and in the long run this cannot be good," Maegdefrau told Reuters Television.

"So we decided to separate the cub from its mother and of course this means it will be raised by hand."

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