Flocke (IPA-de|ˈflɔkə) is a polar bear cub who was born in captivity at the Nuremberg Zoo on 11 December 2007. A few weeks after her birth, she was removed from her mother's care after concerns were raised for her safety. Although the zoo had established a strict non-interference policy with its animals, officials chose to raise the cub by hand. This decision came at a time when the zoo was receiving negative attention from the media after another female polar bear reportedly ate her newly born cubs.

Similar to the excitement around Knut, a captive-born and handraised polar bear at the Berlin Zoo, Flocke ("snowflake" in German) quickly became a media sensation. Her enclosure turned into a popular tourist attraction after she debuted to the public on 8 April 2008. Her name was trademarked and her image appeared on toys and in advertisements throughout the city. The zoo announced in May 2008 that United Nations Environment Program chief Achim Steiner would be Flocke's official patron; it hopes to use Flocke as an ambassador to encourage awareness of climate change.

Infancy and controversy

Flocke was born at the Nuremberg Zoo on 11 December 2007 to Vera (born 2002 in Moscow) and Felix (born 2001 in Vienna).cite web | url=http://www.nuernberg.de/internet/polarbear/parents.html | title=Polar Bear Flocke: The Parents | accessdate=2008-04-30 | publisher=Nuremberg Online ] Another Nuremberg female polar bear, Vilma, gave birth at the same time to what officials thought was two cubs. Zookeepers, enforcing a strict non-interference policy, were not able to determine exactly how many cubs were born.cite news | title =Polar bear 'may have eaten cubs' | publisher =BBC News | date =2008-01-08 | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7176575.stm | accessdate =2008-04-30 ] The zoo reportedly did not wish to create a media circus similar to the one that surrounded Knut, an orphaned polar bear at the Berlin Zoo who became an international celebrity the previous year. Days after the zoo reaffirmed its non-interference policy, mass circulation daily "Bild" ran a story with a headline reading "Why Won't Anyone Save the Cute Baby Knuts in Nuremberg Zoo?"cite news | title =Mum Ate 'Baby Knuts': German Zoo Under Fire After Polar Bear Cubs Die | publisher =Spiegel Online | date =2008-01-07 | url =http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,527184,00.html | accessdate =2008-04-30 ]

At the beginning of January, Vilma appeared nervous, agitatedly scratching at her feedbox, and there was no further sign of her cubs. It was believed that she ate them; when asked for a reason, Nuremberg zoo director Dag Encke stated that they could have been ill, a circumstance under which polar bears in the wild often eat their young. The zoo quickly faced harsh criticism throughout Germany and from the worldwide media for appearing to allow the cubs' death. The director of the German Animal Protection Society said the zoo had acted irresponsibly and that "it was the ethical responsibility of the management to give the polar bear cubs a chance of life. Using the argument 'That's Nature' as an excuse for intervening far too late is cynical and inappropriate." Angry visitors gathered in front of the polar bear enclosure and shouted "rabenmutter" ("evil mother") every time Vilma appeared.cite news | title =Mum Ate 'Baby Knuts': German Zoo Under Fire After Polar Bear Cubs Die | publisher =The Times Online | date =2008-01-12 | url =http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3174894.ece | accessdate =2008-09-30 ]

Meanwhile, Vera was seen emerging from her den for the first time; her single cub, helpless at only four weeks old, appeared to be in good health. A couple of days after the media backlash that followed Vilma's missing cubs, Vera began displaying strange behavior such as carrying her then-unnamed cub around the enclosure and repeatedly dropping it on the hard rock floor. Concerned for the cub's safety, the Nuremberg Zoo made a controversial decision to remove her from her mother's care and raise her by hand.cite news | title =Polar bear cub following in star’s footsteps | publisher =MSNBC | date =2008-01-09 | url =http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22576534/ | accessdate =2008-04-30 ]


Less than a week after Vera's cub was removed from the polar bear enclosure, the zoo dedicated a website to her. It provided frequent updates on her health and development, as well as exclusive photographs and videos. Through the site, the zoo also held a competition in which fans could vote for the cub's name.cite news | title =New Polar Bear Cub Gets Own Web Page | publisher =Fox News | date =2008-01-15 | url =http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,322490,00.html | accessdate =2008-06-11 ] The official name was announced on 18 January 2008 by Ulrich Maly, mayor of Nuremberg, and broadcast live on television. Despite the overwhelming number of e-mailed suggestions from across the world (including "Stella", "Knutschi", "Sissi" and "Yuki Chan"cite news | last =Crossland | first =David | title =Flocke gets a name and a worldwide fan club | publisher =Times Online | date =2008-01-19 | url =http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3213111.ece | accessdate =2008-04-30 ] ), the zoo officially named her Flocke, which is German for "flake", as in "snowflake". "Flocke", used widely by the media, was the nickname originally given to her by zookeepers because of her white fur.cite news | last =Kucharz | first =Christel | title =Baby Polar Bear Named Flocke | publisher =ABC News | date =2008-01-18 | url =http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=4154118&page=1 | accessdate =2008-04-30 ]

Flocke's growth was carefully reported by the media. Four zookeepers took turns bottle-feeding the cub with 140 milliliters of artificial milk every four hourscite news | title =Name-A-Polar-Bear Competition: Nuremberg Zoo to Christen Famous Cub | publisher =Spiegel Online | date =2008-01-17 | url =http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,529215,00.html | accessdate =2008-07-08 ] and news of her eyes opening for the first time made headlines a few days before she was officially named.cite news | title =Polar Bear Orphan Opens Eyes | publisher =Discovery News | date =2008-01-16 | url =http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/01/16/baby-polar-bear.html | accessdate =2008-07-08 ] At five weeks old, she was referred to by "Bild" as "Mrs. Knut", suggesting that the two German-born polar bears might become mates when they mature.cite news | title =German Polar Bear Cub Dubbed "Flocke" | publisher =CBS News | date =2008-01-18 | url =http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/18/world/main3728990.shtml?source=RSSattr=World_3728990 | accessdate =2008-04-30 ] As she grew, Flocke's diet was enriched with dog food, and boiled bones were supplied for her to chew on when she was three months old. She was soon taken to the zoo's beginners pool to practice her swimming skills. The zoo had previously stated that they were seeking another orphaned polar or brown bear cub to raise alongside Flocke in order to improve her development.

On 8 April 2008, Flocke made her first public appearance in the polar bear enclosure that had once been home to Vilma; the adult polar bear had been relocated to another zoo. The four-month-old cub was greeted by more than 160 journalists and a half-dozen international camera crews on the first day.cite news | last =Kucharz | first =Christel | title =A Star Is Born: Flocke's Big Day | publisher =ABC News | date =2008-04-08 | url =http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=4610000&page=1 | accessdate =2008-04-30 ] During the first week, Flocke was displayed for short intervals with breaks at midday. Expecting a peak of 20,000 visitors, the zoo built a viewing platform, capable of holding 500 people at a time, in front of the enclosure, [cite news | title =Media frenzy for new German polar bear cub | publisher ="The Brisbane Times" | date =2008-04-09 | url =http://news.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/media-frenzy-for-new-german-polar-bear-cub-20080409-24ou.html | accessdate =2008-10-03 ] but attendance by zoo patrons was initially lower than expected. [cite news | language =German | title =Eisbärenreport: Ansturm auf Flocke bleibt aus | publisher =Focus Online | date =2008-04-09 | url =http://www.focus.de/panorama/vermischtes/flocke-publikumsliebling-im-nuernberger-zoo_aid_294904.html | accessdate =2008-10-03 ] The zoo uses a video transmission and recording system from Bosch Security Systems to transmit TV-quality live images of the cub to a pair of 46-inch large-format screens. This system, which includes one screen outside the enclosure, was implemented to help the zoo meet the demands of visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of Flocke.cite web | url=http://www.boschsecurity.com.au/content/language1/html/2374_ENU_XHTML.asp | title= Baby polar bear "Flocke" at Nuremberg Zoo now admired on big screen around the clock | accessdate=2008-06-11 | publisher=Bosch Security Official Website ]

Shortly after her debut, however, Flocke became the focus of controversy when prominent animal conservationist Jürgen Ortmüller, chairman of the Whale and Dolphin Protection Forum, hired a lawyer to stop Nuremberg Zoo's exploitation of the polar bear cub.cite news | last = Boyes | first =Roger | title =Crowds flock to Flocke as Rolf Bossi is hired to protect her privacy | publisher =The Times Online | date =2008-04-09 | url =http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article3706431.ece | accessdate =2008-06-11 ] Claiming that Flocke's public exposure would have damaging effects and that the zoo was only concerned about earning money, Ortmüller recruited high-profile lawyer Ralf Bossi to challenge them in court.cite news | last =Siddique | first =Haroon | title =Zoo under fire over Flocke publicity effect | publisher =guardian.co.uk | date =2008-04-09 | url =http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/apr/09/conservation.wildlife?gusrc=rss&feed=environment | accessdate =2008-06-11 ]

Merchandising and branding

Soon after Flocke was rescued in January, the city secured branding rights to her name. An official logo was subsequently released by the zoo.cite web | language =German | url=http://www.nuernberg.de/internet/eisbaer/logo.html | title=Das offizielle Logo "Eisbär-Flocke" | accessdate=2008-06-11 | publisher=Nuremberg Online ] Flocke became part of a major publicity campaign in Nuremberg when she was depicted along with the phrase "Knut war gestern" (Knut is yesterday's bear) on posters for the city's metropolitan region. These posters were displayed at numerous bus and train stops all over the city.

Dubbed "Flocke fever" by the press (similar to the "Knutmania" from the previous year), the cub's popularity soared in early 2008. Her image has been used for games, diaries, soft toys, DVDs, postcards and other items.cite web | url=http://www.nuernberg.de/internet/polarbear/aktuell_16886.html | title=Zoo Shop Now Open | accessdate=2008-05-06 | publisher=Nuremberg Online ] The first product released, a Flocke-based board game that was released in February, was made by the Fuerth-based firm Noris-Spiele, a unit of Georg Reulein GmbH & Co. KG.cite news | title =‘Flocke’ polar bear toys to hit the market | publisher =MSN | date =2008-02-07 | url =http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23053033/ | accessdate =2008-06-11 ] The well-known toy company Steiff began selling a variety of Flocke stuffed animals the following May. The income from the merchandise is currently going towards the zoo and to species survival programs.

Current life

In April 2008, the zoo decreased human interaction with the cub, hoping that one day she could coexist with members of her species and not be dependent on humans. Becoming more independent from her keepers, Flocke was reported often playing happily on her own. She was given a plastic "dummy", similar to a child's teething ring, tied to the bars on the inside of her stable door to suckle on while resting. This suckling caused the cub's nose to appear bent; her muzzle remained in this shape for some time before returning to normal.cite news | title =Squint Nose from Sucking Dummy | publisher =Nuremberg Online | date =2008-06-19 | url =http://www.nuernberg.de/internet/polarbear/aktuell_18123.html | accessdate =2008-07-08 ]

At the age of six months, it was reported that Flocke, whose diet at the time consisted mostly of a kilogram of beef, assorted vegetables and a liter of puppy milk a day, was at the correct weight for her development at kg to lb|45. The zoo's vet, Bernhard Neurohr, also remarked upon the bear's sweet tooth, stating that "Flocke is very enthusiastic about grapes, melon, kiwi fruit and pears", with a particular fondness for bananas.cite news | title =Polar bear Flocke has a sweet tooth | publisher =Nuremberg Online | date =2008-06-10 | url =http://www.nuernberg.de/internet/polarbear/aktuell_18038.html | accessdate =2008-06-27 ]

United Nations Environment Program chief Achim Steiner became Flocke's official patron in May 2008.cite news | title = UN environment chief becomes German polar bear cub's patron | publisher ="International Herald Tribune" | date =2008-05-28 | url =http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/05/28/europe/EU-GEN-Germany-Polar-Bear.php | accessdate =2008-06-11 ] By assuming this role, Steiner acknowledged Nuremberg Zoo's efforts towards local climate protection, stating "I am happy to have been asked to become 'godfather' to Nuremberg's polar bear cub Flocke. I sincerely hope that during her lifetime we will be able to implement a global green economy."cite news | title =Achim Steiner Becomes Flocke's "Ambassador" | publisher =Nuremberg Online | date =2008-05-26 | url =http://www.nuernberg.de/internet/polarbear/aktuell_17474.html | accessdate =2008-06-11 ]

In June 2008, a new poster campaign featuring Flocke was announced; its goal was strengthening public awareness of individuals' ability to protect Earth's climate. Sponsored by the Nuremberg Zoo in conjunction with the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region, the poster showed Flocke and the phrase "Klimaschutz beginnt vor Ort ("Climate Protection Begins At Home").cite news | title =New Poster Campaign with Flocke | publisher =Nuremberg Online | date =2008-06-12 | url =http://www.nuernberg.de/internet/polarbear/aktuell_18039.html | accessdate =2008-06-16 ] The zoo also published a pocket-sized brochure featuring Flocke. Entitled "Little Guide to Climate Protection", it taught visitors how to decrease their carbon dioxide emissions. The Nuremberg Zoo announced in September that it had reached its one millionth visitor for 2008—two months earlier than last year. Although ticket sales for the year increased due to Flocke's popularity, the numbers did not match high expectations. [cite news | language =German| title =Flocke sorgt für Plus im Nürnberger Tiergarten | publisher =Yahoo News | date =2008-09-04 | url =http://de.news.yahoo.com/ddp/20080904/tsc-flocke-sorgt-fuer-plus-im-nuernberge-e24321a.html | accessdate =2008-10-03 ] The same month it was announced that the cub, now weighing convert|60|kg|lb, would no longer have lunchtime breaks in her stable, and would remain in the enclosure throughout the day. [cite news | language =German| title =Mittagspause gestrichen – Flocke bleibt tagsüber draußen | publisher =Stadt Nürnberg Nachrichten aus dem Rathaus | date =2008-09-15 | url =http://www2.nuernberg.de/presse/mitteilungen/presse_19984.html | accessdate =2008-10-05 ]

ee also

* Knut (polar bear)
* Wilbär


External links

* [http://www.nuernberg.de/internet/polarbear/ Polar Bear Flocke at Nuremberg Zoo]
* [http://blog.br-online.de/eisbaer/ Flocke's Blog at BR Online]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

См. также в других словарях:

  • Flocke — Flocke, né le 11 décembre 2007 au zoo de Nuremberg, est un ourson polaire. Sur les autres projets Wikimedia  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Flocke — Sf std. (9. Jh.), mhd. vloc, vlocke m., ahd. flocko m., mndd. vlocke, mndl. vlocke Nicht etymologisierbar. Aus vd. * flukk(ōn) m. Flocke . Am ehesten entlehnt aus l. floccus m. Flocke . Falls Erbwort, gehört es zu lett. plauki Schneeflocken ,… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Flocke — Flocke: Die Herkunft des altgerm. Substantivs (mhd. vlock‹e› »Schnee , Blütenflocke; Funke; Wollflocke«, ahd. floccho »Wollflocke«, niederl. vlok »Flocke«, engl. flock »Flocke, Büschel«, schwed. flock »Wollflocke«) ist nicht sicher geklärt.… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • Flocke — Flocke, 1) kleine leichte u. lockere Büschel: 2) Wolle, von der seinen abfallend, wenn solche gekämmt wird; zu allerlei Wollengeweben brauchbar; 3) (Tuchm.), Wolle, die beim Rauhen in den Karden hängen bleibt; 4) Wickel aus einer Fliede, woraus… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Flocke — Flocke, Abzeichen der Haustiere, s. Abzeichen …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Flocke — Flo|cke [ flɔkə], die; , n: 1. etwas, was aus leicht lockerer Substanz besteht und bei geringem Lufthauch auffliegt oder in der Luft schwebt: Flocken von Staub wirbelten auf; dicke Flocken (Schneeflocken) fielen vom Himmel. Zus.: Schneeflocke. 2 …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Flocke — Eine Flocke ist ein relativ offenes Teilchenaggregat, dessen Entstehung man als Flockung bezeichnet. Fällt eine Flocke aus einer Lösung aus, bezeichnet man dies als Ausflockung. Verdichtet sich das Aggregat weiter, so kommt es über den Prozess… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Flocke — die Flocke, n (Aufbaustufe) kleines Teilchen von Schnee o. Ä. Beispiele: Eine Flocke Watte haftet an ihrem Mantel. Im Lichtschein der Laterne sah man die Flocken wirbeln …   Extremes Deutsch

  • Flocke — »’ne Flocke machen«, verschwinden. Fußt auf dem Bild einer im Schnee verschwindenden Schneeflocke …   Berlinerische Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • Flocke — Flọ·cke die; , n; 1 ein kleines Stück einer weichen, lockeren Masse (wie z.B. Schaum, Schaumstoff, Schnee, Wolle oder Watte): Der Schnee wirbelte in dicken Flocken herab; Flocken aus Schaumstoff || K: Schneeflocke, Seifenflocke 2 meist Pl; ein… …   Langenscheidt Großwörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache

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