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Monday, January 21, 2008

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Flocke - German Polar Bear Cub

In the end, the official name for the Nuremberg Zoo's celebrity baby polar bear was no surprise at all.

The 6.5-pound (3-kilogram) bundle of fluff that zookeepers dubbed Flocke, or Flake—as in snowflake—will be called … Flocke.

"The most important thing leading to this decision was the name that the zookeepers, based on their first impressions, gave her," Nuremberg Mayor Ulrich Maly told a news conference.

Some 50,000 name suggestions came in from around the world vie email, many of which showed strong support for keeping the name Flocke, Maly said.

The 5-week-old cub attained star status after being taken from her mother, Vera, on January 8 amid concerns that Vera might harm or even kill the newborn.

The Bavarian city's zoo made the decision to bottle-feed the cub and not return her to her mother after keepers spotted Vera carrying the cub around in her jaws and tossing it around her enclosure.

On the polar bear's personal Web site, the zoo thanked all those who participated for "the many creative and original suggestions."

Little more than a year ago, another polar bear club in Germany—Knut—was hand-raised by his keepers in Berlin and became a celebrity after being rescued when his mother rejected him.

The daily newspaper Bild has already asked of Flocke: "Will she become Mrs. Knut?"

Zookeeper Harald Hager told reporters Flocke was doing well but was, well, a little boring.

"Outside of eating and sleeping, she's doing nothing at the moment," he said.

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