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Polar Bears: Identifying Siku’s Family & Early Sightings on Beluga Cam!

We have had major excitement on the Beluga Whale Sky Cam as a viewer spotted a polar bear last week! Hard to believe fall is just around the corner. There is a new highlight up of a polar bear sighting here!
And if you’ve been over to the Scandinavian Wildlife Park Live Cam recently, you’ve noticed the twin cubs are nearly as big as brother Siku. So while watching them these summer days – and they have been active swimmers keeping cool! – check out these tips from CamOp Valerie Abbott on telling them apart:

How do I tell the polar bears apart?

A frequently asked question concerning Siku and his extended family is “How do I tell them apart?”

Let’s start with the obvious; Ilka (the mother bear) and Siku (the older brother) are the two larger bears while twins Nanu and Nuno are smaller.

From here we’ll go into a little more detailed description:

  • Nanu, the male, has a green sheen to his coat. From what I have been told about other bears with the same coloring, it is nothing more than algae inside his hollow hairs.
  • Nuno, the female, has larger ears then her twin. However, it could be that her head is just smaller! In either case she will, in time, grow into them.
  • Siku, who is a year older than the cubs, is bigger than the others and has a much larger head. His coat almost always appears to be whiter than all the rest.
  • Ilka, the mother to this wonderful family, is ever so slightly smaller than Siku. Since she is still nursing the twins, her teats are still showing. She is fully grown while the rest will continue to grow!

Now let’s explore their behavioral differences, shall we?

  • Nanu likes to stay close to mom. You never know when a meal might be ready! He will occasionally get into the fun but generally is very cautious about what he does and his surroundings.
  • Nuno loves to play, explore, and be on her own. She is a free spirit who obviously enjoys life as a polar bear. When you see two bears playing, usually in the water, it is she and Siku.
  • After their feedings Siku enjoys staying in the water and either splashing the visitors or playing with Nuno. She can be relentless in her quest to get Siku to play. When they do you will see an obvious size difference.
  • Finally we come to the grand old lady, Ilka; you will find her on shore somewhere watching over her domain, usually with Nanu by her side. She is likely to chase Siku away when she feels he is getting too close or if she feels he is playing too rough. Considering the situation of having half siblings in the same family she is an extremely patient and good mother.

I hope this clears up any questions. Remember even if you can’t tell them apart it is still a lot of fun watching these polar bears play, explore, and just be polar bears!


(Thanks to Janne Tofte for the photos!)

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