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.

Post by:
Filed under: Animals • Bears • World
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. john

    Polar bears aren't cute, people. They will F-cking eat you dead!

    December 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill hanson

      hey

      December 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • gremlinus

      True, but that doesn't mean they aren't cute.

      December 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Belarius Marek

      As opposed to eating you alive?

      December 28, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luna Lovegood

      Hey but then we also kill them by wasting energy and driving cars and polluting the earth!

      January 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bernie

    hope u do better than Knut

    December 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JD

    Siku's numbers are so good he has decided to pursue the Republican presidential nomination.

    December 28, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fladabosco

      More ethical than Newt. Cuter than Bachman. Less vicious than Perry. Less angry than RPaul. Better hair than Romney. Better connected to reality than Santorum.

      December 29, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sue

    let us all reduce our foot print to help not only these adorable polar bear cubs, but all animals. Don't use plastic bags, don't idol your car, buy more in bulk, use environmentally 'friendly' detergent and house hold cleaning supplies, do only one rinse in the washing machine, and what ever else you can think of. God Bless the animals, and i am sorry for all the damage the humans have done to you. You are soo cute.

    December 28, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarshalRight

      Madam, you are silly. Your "environmentally sound" solutions all work, but they are not economically feasible. In other words, they are too damned expensive and produce too little result, and if you want to win people to your cause, you HAVE to win over the Working Class, and they simply cannot afford your "solutions". They have children to feed, and while the bear cub may be adorable, the Worker will feed his family first and then if there's anything left over after prolonging his existence, he will think about your cause. I'm not saying I'm against repairing the environment, but we can't afford moon-eyed idealism. We need feasible solutions. And part of the reason Siku is in the predicament he's in is because we judge the value of animals on their "cuteness" which means NOTHING to them. they are life. Life is sacred. We have to save and preserve ALL our brothers, not just the "cute" ones. The real pity here is that you'll probably never read this.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      MarshalRight, while you do have an important point, I don't see how any of Sue's simple suggestions aren't affordable. Canvas bags are about a dollar and many stores give you a few cents discount that offset that cost. Not idling your car is free. Buying in bulk saves money, and actually for someone with a family may be the best choice for certain goods. Many home chemicals that are environmentally friendly are comparable in price to similar chemicals, especially generic brands. Changing the rinse cycle on the washing machine is free provided your washer model can do so.

      Fact is, reducing consumption of goods, energy, and water all save money, rather than costing it.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Babette

      my car is not my idol.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
    • judy

      all of your solutions are easy and inexpensive. actually, the many of the chemicals we use for cleaning our homes are very bad for our lungs and skin. diluted vinegar doesn't smell great, but the smell dissipates quickly, cleans well and will not harm you. we need to care about the animals because all of nature works together...and that includes us.

      December 29, 2011 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mike S.

    I want one. How cute but would grow up to bite your head off. I am glad that we saved him and then he should be allowed to go free.

    December 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DN3

    So cute!!!!

    December 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rich kay

    MarshalRight. You are the problem. Protecting the environment is not economically feasible? Try achieving economic prosperity on a dead planet. Maybe the working class should stop having babies. Ever think of that?

    December 28, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian H

      Wealthy countries are not "killing the planet". Poor people are a deadly danger, stripping resources and trees etc. down to the subsoil.

      De-industrialization is an un-solution.

      December 29, 2011 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. DN3

    The fact that most people believe that saving the environment is not economically feasible is why much of the human race is doomed. I do believe the human race will survive. But nowhere near our current 7 billion. This won't happen for at least another 100 years though. The middle class does have much to worry about - the portion of the human race that survives will be the rich not the poor. It's a terrible reality but that's what's going to happen if it gets to that point. And no I don't believe that we will be able to establish life on another planet before our own is in deep trouble.

    December 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DN3

    Siku is still cute 😛

    December 28, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. USA Sucks

    She can suck a dick

    December 29, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • judy

      you are an idiot

      December 29, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. tif31

    ?

    December 29, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Asklepios

    The two girls in the video are just falling all over themselves about how cute Siku is.

    There's the key to a woman's heart. Just show up with a tiny polar bear cub.

    December 29, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. JaneMW

    I don't quite see what's cute about the young of a beast that will bite your head off in a heartbeat. Humans are so pathetic in their irrationality.

    December 29, 2011 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
    • awsomeazn2001

      yeah.... retatrts

      December 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • awsomeazn2001

      i meant retards

      December 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Awake now

    Are people reading this? Because of global warming, a lot of polar bears are losing their home. They name the bear Siku to warn people of the risk of global warming. Are those Republicans really that blind?

    December 29, 2011 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. GrumpyGuy

    So Knut was "a disaster" because he wasn't leveraged for political gain?? Sounds to me like Zoo Berlin are the ones who had the right idea here.

    December 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6