The Scandinavian Wildlife Park of Djursland's (southeast of Kolind, Denmark) female Polar Bear, Ilka, gave birth to a single male cub on November 22. After two days the park decided to immobilize Ilka, because the cub was constantly screaming and very unsettled. Ilka could not produce milk, so instead of leaving the cub to die, keepers decided to try to bottle feed him. Siku is now 32 days old, and weighs 3,200 grams.
Photo and video credit: Scandinavian Wildlife Park of Djursland
The cub's name is SIKU, which means “Sea ice” in Greenlandic language. The name is symbolic, because Polar Bears are 100% dependant on sea ice for their survival. Polar bears catch all their prey from the sea ice, so no sea ice - no Polar Bears. With sea ice in the Arctic Sea rapidly diminishing, the latest forecasts predict that the Polar Bear may be almost extinct in the wild 40 years from now.
Scandinavian Wildlife Park is already renowned for the very high standards of its animal facilities, not the least of which is 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 polar bears. This program will revolve 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, they are hopeful 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.