12/28/2011 3:34:25 PM

Siku's New Year's Wish

It doesn't get much cuter than this: The little cub stretches. He rolls around for a tummy rub. He sticks out his tongue. Siku, a seven-pound polar bear cub being hand-raised at Scandinavian Wildlife Park in Denmark, has attracted worldwide attention with his adorable antics—and that means he's already doing his job as an ambassador for his species, said his main caregiver, Frank Vigh-Larsen.

In an appearance on The Today Show, Vigh-Larsen said Siku, whose name mean ice in the Inupiat language, is helping to draw attention to the sea-ice losses faced by his wild counterparts due to global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

"Unfortunately, his mother had no milk, so we were left with two options — we could either leave him to die from starvation, or we could bottle rear him and turn him into an ambassador for his wild cousins living in the Arctic," Vigh-Larsen said.

The Scandinavian Wildlife Park has the world's largest polar bear exhibit, covering about six acres. It's also one of our Arctic Ambassador Center zoos. These centers focus on animal well-being and enrichment, take a leadership role in stewardship and carbon reduction efforts in their communities, and participate in PBI polar bear research efforts. The park is currently developing an exhibit that focues on polar bears, climate change, and how each of us can help.

During The Today Show appearance, Vigh-Larsen said he had a special New Year's wish on behalf of Siku:

"Siku would like you all to reduce your carbon footprint and save energy. And if you all do that, he would be very, very happy."

To find ways you can help, visit our How to Live Greener page. Together, we can ensure a brighter future for Siku's wild counterparts—and preserve life as we know it on Earth.

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