German Polar Bear Cub Dubbed "Flocke"

In this photo released by the 'Tiergarten Nuernberg' zoo in Nuremberg on Friday, Jan. 18, 2008 shows the polar bear cub carried by an keeper. 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. (AP Photo/Tiergarten Nuernberg, Ralf Schedlbauer) * EDITORIAL USE ONLY * NO SALES
AP/Nuremberg Zoo, R. Schedlbauer
In the end, the official name for Nuremberg zoo's celebrity baby polar bear was no surprise at all.

The 6 1/2-pound 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 that 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 in e-mails, which also 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 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.

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?"

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."
By Christof Ruehrmair