2/5/2013 6:26:27 PM
Siku at 14 Months
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 one year and two months old and weighs 135 kilograms.
Siku has really been enjoying the cold weather and snow we have been having lately: he's been playing "snow shovel," sliding down the hills, playing with pieces of ice, and just plain being up to no good. Another fun winter game for Siku is taking his big logs and sticks, which are covered in ice, and sliding them onto the ice on his little pond. He'll bring them onto the ice and then push them really hard, making them fly in every direction! Then he'll chase them down and bring them back onto the ice.
The other day the alarm for Siku's fence kept going off, meaning that there was something wrong with the power lines. That, of course, had to be fixed, so one of our keepers went to check on the problem. What he found was a huge ball of snow shoved up to the fence, messing up the power lines. Siku must have been pushing this giant snowball around for a long time, gathering more and more snow and having a lot of fun, but we needed to move it away from the fence. So while Siku waited in the stable, the keeper went in to get it out. Siku is a very strong little bear, so this snowball was not exactly light, but the keeper managed to move it away and Siku got his enclosure back. When Siku got outside, he saw that his big ball had been moved. You wouldn't think that polar bears would care about their things being moved around, but Siku went straight over and pushed the snowball right back in to the fence. Luckily this time the snowball missed the power lines, and both the keeper and Siku got their way. Now the ball is slowly melting away, so Siku will have to come up with something new to play with—something he is fortunately very good at.
In training he is still doing well. I'm only in the park training with him once a week now, but progress is coming along nicely. He's still learning paw presentation, and can lift either paw now and put them on the bars. The next step is to teach him to do this on command and also tolerate being touched on the paws. The latter is the hardest part. Polar bears in general don't like to be touched, and Siku's reaction to someone just touching one of his claws with one finger is to give a big roar and move his paw away from the bars. So that will take some time and patience from both me and Siku. Right now we are at the stage where Siku has to keep the paw up while my hand comes closer, but it's okay that he roars a little bit, expressing that he is not completely pleased with the situation. In time he will figure out, that us touching his paws through the bars isn't as bad as he thinks it is and that he actually gets good treats out of it. He is after all a very clever little bear.
You may also have heard that Siku now has two younger siblings and that this time their mother is taking care of them all by herself, thanks to medication that stimulated her milk production. They are now 11 weeks old and are doing so well. If you want to follow the twins, go to Scandinavian Wildlife Parks Facebook profile here.