Polar Bears International

9/12/2012 4:45:20 PM

Siku at 9 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 at explore.org. Here is her latest report:

Siku is now nine months and three weeks old. He weighs 84 kilograms (84 pounds) and is 1.5 meters tall (4.92 feet) when standing on his hind legs. It's hard to believe that he only weighed 800 grams (1.76 pounds) at birth!

We've changed Siku's diet this week. He is no longer drinking milk! Instead we give him more meat than before, so that he now eats 2.7 kilograms of cow heart each day. We've also started getting him used to eating bigger portions, but fewer times a day. So now he eats five times a day instead of six. We've also moved his last feeding of the day back to 8:30 PM, because beginning in November he will be sleeping alone, and no one will be there in the evening to feed him. We are always conscious of preparing Siku for what to come, easing him in to specific changes in his life, and changing his feeding schedule a little bit. This is another step on the way towards how his life will be as an adult polar bear in this park.

Some has asked where Siku go when we close in the autumn. He will go to one of our polar bear enclosures, where he will be adjacent to the other bears and will have access to our polar bear house, if he wants to go inside. This is also where we have the caravan that us caretakers sleep in. This enclosure is where Siku was when the Siku Cam started. Moving him between the two enclosures is relatively easy, because he always gets a treat for going through. But Siku has also discovered that the ropes that we use to close the gates with are so much fun to steal! Some of you may have seen Siku jumping at the gates, trying to steal the rope. So now we've moved the rope up as high as it can get, so he can't reach it anymore.

Some of you have commented on seeing Frank checking on Siku. Actually the three of us taking care of Siku—Frank, Marie and I—check on him on a daily basis from outside the fence, and one of us is always there in the background. Usually we are behind the cameras for  theSiku Cam, so you don't see us, but I think what happened was that Frank forgot about the cameras, and what you saw was Frank observing Siku, as we always do, from outside the fence.

Siku of course recognizes all three of us, but he is getting more and more oblivious to what we are doing or what is happening outside the fence. If Frank, for example, has been away for a couple of days, and comes back to see Siku, Siku will barely lift his head, let alone stop what he is doing. The only time Siku reacts to something we do is when he knows (or thinks) that we have food for him. This is a good thing. This means that our hard work of keeping him as independent as possible is working.

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