“What’s up with Siku?” - Updates by Janne / Polar Bears International
Siku is now 8 months and 18 days, and he weighs 68 kg.
Siku is still doing really well, and his daily life hasn’t changed much since the last update. But here is something I experienced with him the other day that you might enjoy.
As you might know, we still sleep in a caravan next to the enclosure he is in when the park is closed, and the other night, a little while after I had fed him his last meal of the day, I heard some strange noises. I could hear him breathing heavily and I could also hear the fence rattling. It was completely dark outside so I took a flashlight and went out to see what was going on. What happened was that Siku had pushed one of his big branches all the way up the fence, and was then having a blast pushing, pulling, and jumping on the branch and making a racket. He looked at me like I was disturbing his very fun game, so I left him to it and went to bed. But Siku was not done playing. He played with the branch for a good ten minutes, and just when I thought that the noise was over and I could get to sleep, the splashing started. He was having himself a midnight swim, and not a silent one. I laid there listening to the splashing and started to doze off, when suddenly a loud banging noise started. Siku had moved inside and was jumping up and down a wood panel, enjoying himself by making as much noise as possible. Soon after that he was out with his branch again, rattling the fence. He was having a blast, and kept me awake for a good hour by alternating between rattling the fence, banging on the wood panel and splashing around in the water. Even though I was kind of tired and wanted to sleep, it’s so nice to know that he can enjoy himself like this. Polar bear cubs really are a lot of fun!
Here are some answers to a couple of questions we’ve received.
Will Joanne from the San Diego Zoo be visiting Siku again or are her visits over? I really enjoyed the videos they took when she was there helping with the training.
We have no visits scheduled right now, but it is not unlikely that she will visit again and see how well our “little” Siku is doing.
I’m amazed at how vegetarian Siku seems to be. Does anyone know what those flowers are?
Siku is constantly hungry, even though we feed him A LOT of food. If we gave him all the food he could eat, he would be a very round, but not very mobile little bear. So he is filling his stomach with what he can find, and this includes grass and other plants. The white flowers you see are clover.
What kind of milk does Siku get, since polar bear milk is 30% fat? Also is there another potential girl bear that Siku can mate with later in life besides Ilka?
Siku gets a milk substitute that is called Esbilac, this contains 40% fat when it is not dissolved in water. When mixed, the milk contains 8% fat. Although this is less than genuine polar bear milk, Siku has done extremely well on this, particularly as he doesn’t live in the Arctic.
We have no other fertile female bears in the park at the moment, but the plan is that Siku will be a part of the breeding program. So he might have a visit from a girl bear some day.