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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.