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Campaign launched to keep little Shilka in Siberia

By The Siberian Times reporter
19 November 2014

Thousands join online petition to stop famous polar bear cub being exiled to the other side of the world.

Thousands have joined an online campaign in a last effort to stop Shilka move. Picture: Vera Salnitskaya 

Thousands of people have launched an online campaign to prevent Siberia’s famous polar bear cub being sent abroad. Little Shilka became a global star last year after melting the hearts of animal lovers in a series of cute pictures as she cuddled into her mother.

The first polar bear born in Siberia for 40 years, she even became a celebrity status symbol for Novosibirsk, the region’s largest city, where she was born. But last week The Siberian Times revealed she is about to be exiled to the other side of the world after being deemed old enough to leave Russia behind.

The cub, now 11 months old and standing 1.3metres tall, has already been separated from mother Gerda, as she prepares for a new solo life in Brazil or Japan. Now thousands have joined an online campaign in a last effort to stop her move.

By Wednesday afternoon, more than 7,500 had signed a petition on the change.org website to put pressure on Novosibirsk Zoo director Rostislav Shilo.

Thousands join online petition to stop famous polar bear cub being exiled to the other side of the world


Thousands join online petition to stop famous polar bear cub being exiled to the other side of the world


Thousands join online petition to stop famous polar bear cub being exiled to the other side of the world
'We haven’t had polar bear cubs for 40 years, and we don’t want to give this very first one away'. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya 


Campaigners even said they would be willing to begin a fundraising campaign to find the 110 million roubles ($2.3million) to keep the animal in her Siberian home.

The website states: 'Shilka grew to become a calling card of Novosibirsk Zoo and she is a symbol, not only of our zoo but of the whole country. People from all over the world have watched her grow, becoming fans of this farming family of Kai, Gerda and Shilka.

'We haven’t had polar bear cubs for 40 years, and we don’t want to give this very first one away. She was even named after the zoo’s director. Little Shilka is like a mascot for our zoo. If there is no money to build her a new living area, then let’s begin a fundraising campaign. Many people would help.”

Shilka was born at Novosibirsk Zoo in December last year, and quickly became a star. Her father, Kai, was sent to another enclosure after the birth, as keepers were not sure how he would behave with the cub, but he will be reunited with Gerda in February. It is hoped they will mate again in the spring and produce another baby.

But the separation is having an impact on heartbroken Gerda, who is clearly missing her cub and is walking around her pen looking for her.

The issue facing the zoo, however, is that it would take 110 million roubles to keep Shilka in Siberia.

Last year after capturing the amazing images of the little cub for the Siberian Times, Novosibirsk photographer Vera Salnitskaya said: 'It is almost impossible to watch them together because it is so pure a love, the kind you can only dream about. You look at them and just feel that these are the most perfect mother and daughter relations you have ever seen'.

Pictures below show baby Shilka with mother Gerda, and on her own now. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya 

Thousands join online petition to stop famous polar bear cub being exiled to the other side of the world


Thousands join online petition to stop famous polar bear cub being exiled to the other side of the world


 Thousands join online petition to stop famous polar bear cub being exiled to the other side of the world


Thousands join online petition to stop famous polar bear cub being exiled to the other side of the world


Thousands join online petition to stop famous polar bear cub being exiled to the other side of the world

Comments (3)

What a "Beauty" is this "Beauty". Why or how could you give her away?
jojnjo, Dublin,
23/11/2014 13:08
0
0
try here please Maria https://www.change.org/p/просим-оставить-медвежонка-шилку-на-постоянное-местожительство-в-новосибирском-зоопарке
The Siberian Times ,
19/11/2014 20:52
3
0
Can you please provide the link for the campaign? I would like to join it too!
Maria, Hong Kong
19/11/2014 19:28
2
0
1

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