The debut of an orphaned polar bear cub in Denmark has captured the hearts of the world.
Five-week-old Siku’s mother wasn’t able to feed him, so the staff at the Scandinavian Wildlife Park in Kolind, Denmark took over caring for the little bear.
“Unfortunately, his mother had no milk, so we were left with two options — we could either leave him to die from starvation, or we could bottle rear him and turn him into an ambassador for his wild cousins living in the Arctic,” explained his main caretaker, Frank Vigh-Larsen, to the TODAY show. “It takes a lot of patience, it takes away your sleep, but it gives back a fantastic opportunity to see this little thing grow up.”
“We have the world’s largest polar bear facility here, covering two-and-a-half hectares, and when he’s about 2 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,” Vigh-Larsen explained. “None of the animals we have are supposed to go back into the wild. He would never make it. He’s going to stay here with us and take part in an international breeding program for polar bears in captivity, so hopefully in a few years time he will become a daddy himself.”
But Vigh-Larsen and the staff at the park aren’t the only ones enjoying watching little Siku grow up – over 1 million YouTube viewers have done the same. Which is what his handlers were hoping for – that Siku can shed light on the plight of polar bears in the wild.
“His name Siku means sea ice (in Inuit), and that’s very symbolic, because the sea ice is melting and that’s threatening the very existence, the survival of the polar bears,” Vigh-Larsen said. “Siku would like you all to reduce your carbon footprint and save energy. And if you all do that, he would be very, very happy.”