A Bear by Any Other Name
Nuremberg Cub Officially Christened Snowflake
The polar bear cub in Nuremberg Zoo is being allowed to keep her hitherto provisional name of Snowflake. The name, which was given to the bear by her keepers, was chosen by a jury ahead of almost 30,000 suggestions sent in from around the world.
When baby polar bears were born recently in Nuremberg Zoo, the management stressed they wanted to avoid the kind of Knut-mania that gripped the Berlin Zoo early in 2007.
They seem to have failed in that bid: A
competition to find a name for the little furball generated frenzied interest around the world, with almost 30,000 suggestions being sent in and the hotly anticipated result broadcast live on national television.
The excitement, however, turned out to be somewhat anticlimactic: a jury ended up deciding to keep the provisional name that the keepers had already given the bear. From now on, the little critter will officially be known as Snowflake ("Flocke" in German).
Nuremberg Mayor Ulrich Maly announced the results at 3 p.m. Friday at a press conference broadcast live on national television. He explained that they chose to keep the name which the keepers had given the bear, saying that many of the almost 30,000 suggestions received from fans around the world were "difficult for German tongues to pronounce." Maly also said that Flocke will make her first public appearance at the end of March or beginning of April.
The city received a flood of suggestions via email and postcards from countries as far as the US, India and New Zealand after Maly announced a competition last weekend to find a name for the polar bear. A five-person jury, comprised of the mayor and his deputy along with several members of Nuremberg's city council and the head zookeeper, met Friday to choose the name.
The bear cub became a celebrity after being taken from her mother, Vera, on Jan. 8 when keepers spotted the mother carrying the cub around in her jaws and feared the tiny bear might come to harm. The zoo decided to hand-rear the cub -- a decision which has been criticized by some bear experts who
warn it is unnatural.