10/14/2012 9:57:32 AM

Siku at 10 Months, Three Weeks

One of Siku's main caregivers, Janne, is sending us regular updates on the polar bear cub that was hand-raised at the Scandinavian Wildlife Park in Denmark after his mother failed to produce milk. You can watch him on the Siku Cam daily. Here is her latest report:

Siku is now 10 months and three weeks old and weighs 94 kg!

The park closes for the winter on October 21st, so we have started getting Siku ready for this. First of all he isn't going to have food as often, so we have now reduced his number of feedings to three times during the day. In the morning he gets 700 g of cow heart. Then at about 11 he gets a whole leg from a cow calf and that takes him a couple of hours to eat, because he has to pick the meat from the skin and bones himself. This is a great enrichment activity for him, and he gets about 1.5 kg of meat from that. Then when the park closes at 5 pm., he gets his dog food, about 200 grams, and then 700 g of cow heart. That amounts to about 2.9 kg of meat every day and on top of that he still gets the occasional apple.

Soon he will also start sleeping alone, so we have moved further away from him, still sleeping in hearing distance from him, but he doesn't know that we can hear him. We haven't seen or heard anything from him in reaction to this, and that means that again he is completely ready for the changes that we are presenting him with.

On top of trying a whole leg from a calf for the first time, he also got his first fish the other day. When presented with both the leg and the fish, he didn't hesitate for one second. He sniffed it, licked it one time, picked it up and placed it in his favorite eating spot, and started eating. The leg takes him a couple of hours to eat, and then there is still the skin and bones left to play with. The fish went down in 15-20 minutes, with no trace of it ever being there, other than a happy polar bear licking each straw of grass and his paws, to make sure that not a drop was wasted.

There have been some questions about Siku being alone in the enclosure and I thought that I would try and clarify the situation. Siku is being hand raised because his mother didn't produce any milk and having no siblings means that he has to be alone in his enclosure. There are no other cubs available for him to play with, and all adult bears are too big and dangerous for him at this age. Usually the cubs will stay with their mother, seeing only her and their possible siblings, for the first two to two-and-a-half years of their life. The mother is there to protect the cub and make sure that he gets something to eat, but she would not be constantly playing with the cub or entertaining him all the time.

So a cub like Siku is actually perfectly fine playing and exploring on his own, as long as he is safe and fed, and we of course make sure that Siku is just that. Siku sees the other polar bears every day through the fence in the enclosure that he is in when the park is closed for the night. We have an older female that has access to the stable in the opposite pen of where Siku is sleeping, and outside of the stable, the other three polar bears are just on the other side of the fence. Siku is very curious about the other bears, sitting and watching them for long periods of time, and they mostly ignore him. He keeps a bit of a distance to the fence still, especially if the adult bears are close on the other side. They are still three to six times the size of him, so of course he is going to be a bit cautious around them, but he is a confident little bear and if the other polar bears react to him, he stands his ground, telling them how big he thinks he is. The plan is that he is going to be introduced to the others individually and without a fence, when he is about two years old. Then he will weigh about 200 kg and be big enough to handle being around the other polar bears.

Some have asked if we are planning a birthday celebration for Siku, and the answer to that is NO! Siku is a polar bear, and birthdays mean nothing to him, so he will just have another regular day. Maybe his keepers will have a piece of chocolate with their coffee that day but that is it. We do have a birthday suggestion, though: If you want to celebrate that Siku turns one year old on November 22nd, make a plan to change something in your everyday life that would benefit the climate and Siku's wild cousins. That would be the perfect gift for Siku!

Siku's wish is to reduce your carbon footprint to save his wild cousins. Ready to help? Visit our Take Action! page. Photos copyright SÌüren Koch.

Dansk:

Siku er nu 10 mÌ´neder gammel og tre uger og vejer 94 kg!

Parken lukker for vinteren d. 21. oktober, sÌ´ vi er startet pÌ´ at forberede Siku pÌ´ hvad der skal ske. For det fÌürste skal han ikke have mad sÌ´ ofte mere, sÌ´ vi har reduceret hans antal af fodringer til 3 gange om dagen. Om morgenen fÌ´r han 77 g kohjerte. SÌ´ kl. 11 for han et helt ben fra en jersey kalv og det tager ham et par timer at spise fordi han selv skal skille kÌüdet fra hud og knogler. Det er en rigtig godt til at holde ham beskÌ_ftiget og det fÌ´r han cirka halvandet kg kÌüd ud af. NÌ´r vi lukker ned om aftenen fÌ´r han sine hundepiller, omkring 200 g, og sÌ´ fÌ´r han igen 700 g kohjerte. Det bliver i alt 2,9 kg kÌüd om dagen og oven i det fÌ´r han ogsÌ´ et par Ì_bler.

Han skal ogsÌ´ snart til at sove alene, sÌ´ derfor er vi nu flyttet lÌ_ngere vÌ_k fra ham om natten. Vi sover stadig inden for en afstand hvor vi kan hÌüre ham, men det ved han ikke. Vi har ikke hÌürt eller set nogen reaktion fra hans side pÌ´ denne Ì_ndring og det betyder at endnu en gang er han fuldstÌ_ndig klar til at tage imod de udfordringer vi prÌ_senterer ham for.

Udover at prÌüve et helt ben fra en jerseykalv, har han ogsÌ´ fÌ´r sin fÌürste fisk. Da han blev givet et helt ben og ogsÌ´ da han fik en fisk, tÌüvede han ikke et Ìüjeblik. Han skyndte sig hen og snuste til den, slikkede pÌ´ den en enkelt gang, samlede det op og skyndte sig hen til hans yndlings spisested og begyndte at spise. Benet tager ham et par timer at spise og sÌ´ er der stadig hud og knogle tilbage som man kan lege med. Fisken derimod rÌüg ned pÌ´ 15-20 minutter, og der var ingen spor af at den nogensinde havde vÌ_ret i anlÌ_gget. Ikke udover at der lÌ´ en glad isbjÌürn og slikkede pÌ´ sine poter og pÌ´ grÌ_sset, for at vÌ_re helt sikker pÌ´ at der ikke var en drÌ´be tilbage.

Der har vÌ_ret nogle spÌürgsmÌ´l omkring at Siku er alene i anlÌ_gget og jeg tÌ_nkte at jeg ville prÌüve at forklare situationen. Siku bliver flasket op fordi hans more ikke kunne producere mÌ_lk og fordi han ikke har nogle sÌüskende mÌ´ han altsÌ´ vÌ_re alene i anlÌ_gget. Der er ingen andre unger han kan fÌ´ at lege med og alle voksne bjÌürne er for store og farlige for ham i den alder han har nu. Normalt gÌ´r ungerne med deres mor de fÌürste to - to et halvt Ì´r af deres liv og i den tid ser ungen kun moren og sine eventuelle sÌüskende. Moren er der for at beskytte ungen og sÌürge for at den fÌ´r noget at spise, men hun ville ikke hele tiden lege med ungen og underholde den konstant. SÌ´ en unge som Siku har det faktisk helt fint med at lege og undersÌüge verden pÌ´ egen hÌ´nd, sÌ´ lÌ_nge at de er trygge og fÌ´r det mad de skal have, og vi sÌürger selvfÌülgelig for at Siku fÌ´r det han har behov for. Siku ser de andre isbjÌürne hver dag gennem hegnet i det anlÌ_g han gÌ´r i nÌ´r parken er lukket. Vi har en Ì_ldre hunisbjÌürn der har adgang til isbjÌürnestalden i boksen overfor den Siku han sover i, og udenfor er de andre tre isbjÌürn altid pÌ´ den anden side af hegnet. Siku er meget nysgerrig omkring de andre bjÌürne og sidder tit og kigger pÌ´ dem i lang tid, hvor de fÌ´r det meste ignorerer at han er der. Han holder stadig lidt afstand til hegnene, isÌ_r hvis en af de voksne er tÌ_t pÌ´ den anden side. De er stadig 3-6 gange sÌ´ store som ham, sÌ´ er han er selvfÌülgelig stadig meget pÌ´passelig omkring dem. Men han er nu en lille bjÌürn med en stor selvtillid og hvis de andre isbjÌürne reagerer pÌ´ hans tilstedevÌ_relse stiller han sig op pÌ´ den anden side og fortÌ_ller hvor stor han selv synes han er. Planen er at nÌ´r han bliver 2 Ì´r og vejer omkring 200 kg sÌ´ skal han lige sÌ´ stille introduceres til de andre enkeltvis og uden hegn imellem. SÌ´ er han nemlig stor nok til at klare sig blandt de store bjÌürne.

Der er ogsÌ´ blevet spurgt til om vi planlÌ_gger noget omkring Sikus fÌüdselsdag, og svaret til det er NEJ! Siku er en isbjÌürn og fÌüdselsdage har ingen betydning for ham. SÌ´ han vil have en helt almindelig dag. MÌ´ske skal dyrepasserne have et stykke chokolade eller kage til deres kaffe, men det er det hele. Hvis du gerne vil fejre at Siku fylder 1 Ì´r d. 22. november, sÌ´ planlÌ_g at Ì_ndre noget i din hverdag der vil gavne klimaet og Sikus vilde artsfÌ_ller. Det ville vÌ_re den perfekte fÌüdselsdagsgave til Siku!

 

 

 

 

 

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