December 28th, 2011
12:23 PM ET

Meet Siku: Polar bear cub, heart- and ice-melter

What’s white and black and has people fawning all over? Meet Siku, a polar bear cub born in captivity in Denmark.

The cute cub is being reared by handlers at the  Scandinavian Wildlife Park because its mother isn’t producing the milk to feed him. Since his birth last month, Siku has become a Web star. He has his own page on the Scandinavian Wildlife Park website and he’s even on Facebook.

Park director Frank Vigh-Larsen says he's stunned by the cub's rapid transformation into an Internet sensation.

Video footage posted on YouTube of Siku bottle-feeding, rolling around and snoozing has been viewed more than 2 million times in six days, he told CNN, and the cub gained thousands of friends on Facebook within the space of a few hours.

As of Wednesday, at 36 days old, Siku has just opened his eyes and weighs in at 4.2 kilograms (9.2 pounds), more than five times his initial weight, his handler said.

"He's just a little solid cannonball," Vigh-Larsen said. "He's doing well."

Such growth is a testament to the dedicated care Siku is receiving. For the first three weeks, Vigh-Larsen fed the cub every two hours - and still feeds him every three hours, meaning the keeper gets little sleep.

In the new year, two other wildlife keepers will start to care for him, too, in shifts, making sure the cub is never alone during the first 12 months of his life.

Siku's popularity comes at a time when the plight of polar bears is at its peak. Corporate giant Coca-Cola recently launched a campaign in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund to raise awareness about arctic conditions that threaten polar bears.

Siku, which means “sea ice” in Greenlandic, an Eskimo language spoken in Greenland, is thriving under a bottle-feeding program instituted by the park’s keepers.

"Siku is going to be an ambassador for polar bears, for global warming," Vigh-Larsen said.

Vigh-Larsen draws a contrast with the last polar bear cub to become an Internet star, Germany's Knut. That bear died suddenly at age 4 last March at Zoo Berlin, to the sorrow of many worldwide who had followed the cub's progress after he was abandoned by his mother and hand-raised by a zookeeper.

The case of Knut was a disaster, Vigh-Larsen said, "because he was only ever used for selling tickets and teddy bears."

Siku will have a different mission, he says: using his cuteness to persuade people to listen to warnings about climate change and take steps to protect their planet.

It could prove a powerful weapon. The cub has already appeared on front pages of newspapers around the world and graced international TV news bulletins.

New pictures will be posted on the Wildlife Park's website Thursday, Vigh-Larsen said, with the pictures likely to win him even more fans.

Scientists believe there could be as few as 25,000 polar bears left in the world, according to Polar Bears International, a conservation group. The animals are only found in five nations, the United States (Alaska), Russia, Norway, Canada and Greenland, the group said.

In 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Animals • Bears • World
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. EuphoricCrest

    Paragraph 5 says he weighs 9.2 lbs, paragraph 10 says he now weighs 7 lbs. Typical CNN proofreading fail.

    December 28, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest

      You're welcome, CNN. Where do I send the proofreading invoice?

      December 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik...

      Get over yourself.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • CandyBee

      Most babies lose weight after they are born. Humans, too.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. john-177

    Cute, but it will grow up into a killing machine of death

    December 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • pixiegirlluv

      They are still beautiful creatures.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobcat (in a hat)

    Where's the bottle of Coca Cola ?

    December 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. STLgirl

    The comments on this article are absolutely the most ridiculous I've seen in awhile. Where do you dopes come from?
    This little bear is one of the most adorable animals EVER! Glad there are those who care for babies whose mommies can't. Keep posting those pics & videos! I'd rather see that than all the political crap or violence one normally sees on the news.

    December 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike S.

      Here Here I agree with you. People that can't say something nice about CNN's articles should just shut up.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Wren

    Siku is adorable, but we in Colorado watched Snow and Klondike being raised by hand and they were the cutest ever!

    December 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Coloradoan here and you are so right. Loved watching Snow and Klondike growing up!

      December 28, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mary

    The picture says it all......too cute!

    December 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Curiousgeorge

    How about this – in about 3 years go cuddle with this Alpha Predator? See who gets eaten first. Idiota!

    December 28, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. martin2176

    Siku is my pet

    December 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tom

    The fate of polar bears and Siku is really on the brink. Polar ice is disappearing rapidly and so are polar bears... I hope it's not too late for things to change.

    December 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. joe

    Awww, he's so cute, I want to keep him as a pet.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hugh Jass ©

    Good luck little guy.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. I LOVE AMP!

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EmUyj0d1Z4&w=640&h=360]

    December 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. SoCal81

    Awww what a cute pup, unfortunately its sad it will be living in captivity and not in the wild its whole life 😦

    December 28, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Curt

    I want one 😀

    December 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GrandOldPatsy

    So cute, until it's chewing on your throat.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
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