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German Polar Bear to Get Name

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[January 19, 2008]  NUREMBERG, Germany (AP) -- What will Germany's new polar bear celebrity be called?

Nuremberg Mayor Ulrich Maly has asked a jury to deliberate Friday on a flood of suggestions - which arrived in more than 25,000 e-mails and postcards - for the official name of the 5-week-old white ball of fluff.

The decision was to be announced in the afternoon.

The bear cub rose to star status after being taken from her mother, Vera, on Jan. 8 amid concerns that she could 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.

Zookeepers provisionally dubbed the cub, born in early December, Flocke - German for flake, as in snow flake.

Proposals have included traditional German names - but among the suggestions are Nibs, Snow White, Aicha and Yuki Chan.

On the polar bear's Internet home page, 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.

Mass-circulation daily Bild already has asked of the new cub: "Will she become Mrs. Knut?"


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[Associated Press]

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