Siku, The Danish Polar Bear Cub. The New Knut?

The New Knut? Internet Enamored by Siku, the Danish Polar Bear | NewsFeed | TIME.com

Meet Siku, the month-old polar bear from Denmark who has inspired “awww”s worldwide with his videotaped antics. Siku’s mother can’t produce any milk, so the little bear (whose name means “ice” in Greenlandic) is being bottle-fed. In addition to his prodigious ability to guzzle milk, Siku loves to lounge around, get back rubs and snooze while sticking his tongue out.

Following in the paw-steps of the Berlin Zoo’s Knut, Siku has swiftly become an online celebrity, boasting a Facebook page with 20,000 followers where fans can watch his latest videos.

Siku will be even more spoiled than Knut, however, enjoying the “world’s largest polar bear facility” at the Scandinavian Wildlife Park, according to one of his carers, Frank Vigh-Larsen.

Skandinavisk Dyrepark

Polar bear cub in Scandinavian Wildlife Park

Scandinavian Wildlife Park is already renowned for the very high stands of the animal facilities, not least the polar bear facility covering 26.000 square meters. The information and education standards are also very high, and Scandinavian Wildlife Park is now developing a new information program about the climate changes, the sea ice in the Arctic Sea and the polar bears. This program will evolve around SIKU, who will become Ambassador for his wild cousins living in the Arctic.

The polar bears in Scandinavian Wildlife Park are part of a Global breeding program for captive polar bears. The aim of the program is to sustain a population of healthy polar bears in captivity, NOT to breed polar bears to be released in the wild. This program is short on breeding animals, and it is therefore important that SIKU enters the breeding program as soon as possible.

Because Scandinavian Wildlife Park has some of the best and largest polar bear facilities in the world, we are convinced that it will be possible for SIKU to become a normal functioning polar bear within a few years, so he can live together with the other polar bears in Scandinavian Wildlife Park.

The 'New Knut': Danish Polar Bear Cub Siku Conquers the Internet - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

'A Different Bear'

Though a number of fans have made comparisons to Berlin's famous polar bear Knut, who died in March, Vigh-Larsen told the "Today" show that Siku will have a different life.

"Siku will be a completely different bear than Knut," he said. "He will grow up in a different environment. We have the world's largest polar bear facility here, covering two-and-a-half hectares, and when he's about two years old he will move in with the other four polar bears (at the park) and have a very normal polar bear life -- as normal as it can be in captivity."
While Berlin continues to struggle with how to memorialize its star bear Knut after he died suddenly this spring at the age of four, drowning after a seizure caused by encephalitis, Siku may carry on his legacy of promoting climate change awareness. His symbolic name is meant to call attention to the swiftly disappearing habitat of polar bears. With climate change rapidly melting the Arctic sea ice the species relies on for hunting, they could be extinct in the wild within 40 years, the zoo warns.

Vigh-Larsen asked "Today" viewers to make an effort to reduce their carbon footprints and save energy on Siku's behalf. "And if you all do that, he would be very, very happy," he said.

The Toledo Zoo - Polar Bear Cub

Every Cub Counts

The cub is a huge step for polar bear conservation worldwide. As we lose more of their Arctic habitat to climate change, the future of polar bears in the wild grows less certain with each passing year. That’s why polar bears are now protected under the Endangered Species Act, and that’s why cubs like this one have such an important role to play. We hope that folks who stop by to see this little bear will take a moment to consider the plight of our bears’ wild counterparts and think about steps they can take to preserve this species for generations to come.