Siku was hand-reared
When Siku the polar bear cub was born in 2011, his mother Ilka could not produce milk for him. The staff here in Scandinavian Wildlife Park had to hand-rear him, so he could survive.
The name Siku
That choice came with some things we needed to consider. Firstly it was very important the Siku didn’t grow up to be a pet, but a completely normal polar bear. Secondly, he was going to be used as an ambassador for his wild counterparts, and that’s why he got the name Siku. Siku is the most common word for sea ice in all inuit languages. And last but not least, Siku was going to be completely non-profit. He was not only going to be used to sell t-shirts and teddy bears.
Contact with Siku
The first 6-7 weeks Frank Vigh-Larsen, the director of Scandinavian Wildlife Park, took care of Siku all by himself. After that Janne came to help and when Siku was 14 weeks, Marie came along as well. These are the only three people that have ever been close to Siku. It was very important to limit the access to Siku, to ensure that he did not become a pet. For that reason it was also descided that the only one to take photos of Siku was wildlife photographer Søren Koch and they only one to do video was Dorte Nüchel from TV2 Østjylland. That way we had a lot of control over what pictures and video of Siku got out, and this was two people who knew the park very well, and knew the guidelines around Siku.
To begin with, either Frank or Janne slept with Siku inside. When polar bear cubs are born, they spend their first months very close in a den with their mother. But when Siku moved outside in his enclosure, Frank, Janne and now also Marie started sleeping in a caravan just outside the enclosure instead. We slept here every night till November 1st, 2012.
Siku learns to live outside
We started out being in the enclosure with Siku, when he first moved outside. We crawled around on the ground with him, explored and met the world with him. He was very secure in his surroundings, so we stopped going in with him in start april, 2012 and he’s been alone in the enclosure ever since. The first year, someone was always with him on the other side of the fence, but now he’s used to being alone 24/7.