Siku, an adorable baby polar bear, was born on Nov. 22 at the Scandinavian Wildlife Park in Kolind and is being hand-reared in the Denmark zoo. The precious newborn has melted the hearts of animal lovers around the globe as videos of Siku have gone viral online.
The 5-week old Internet sensation was removed from his mother two days after his birth because he was constantly screaming and being very unsettled, the zoo reports.
Siku's mother, Ilka, has not produced any milk for the third year in a row. Zookeepers decided to try to rear him with a bottle instead and he has responded well. Sika successfully feeds from the bottle and has doubled in size since his birth, weighing 3.2 kilograms or 7 pounds, the zoo reports. Siku will grow to be over 100 times his current size.
Frank Vigh-Larsen from the Scandinavian Wildlife Park is one of Siku's main handlers. He told the Associated Press that the cub is healthy and really fine, but would have been at risk had he stayed with his mother.
Siku has become extremely popular online with over 1 million YouTube viewers and 15,000 likes on his Facebook page. The young cub was also featured on the Today show on Tuesday where he appeared with Vigh-Larsen via satellite.
Vigh-Larsen hopes that the cub can be an ambassador for his wild cousins. He told viewers on the Today show that Siku's name means sea ice in Inuit. Polar bears are dependent on sea ice in order to live, catch prey and survive in the wild.
The zoo hopes the cub will draw attention to climate change issues and the quickly disappearing natural habitats of polar bears. With an estimated 20,000-25,000 polar bears left in the wild, some scientists believe the majestic creatures could be extinct within 40 years if the Arctic circle continues to shrink. Vigh-Larsen invited Today viewers to resolve to make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint for Siku in 2012.
Siku reminds many of Berlin's famous polar bear, Knut, who passed away suddenly in March at the age of four. Knut was the first polar bear cub to survive past infancy in more than 30 years at the Berlin zoo and he quickly became a commercial success.
Siku will be a completely different bear than Knut, Vigh-Larsen said on the Today Show. 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.
Watch videos of Siku, the baby polar bear: