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Polar Bear Cub Gets A Name Before Meeting Her Public

Polar Bear Cub Gets A Name Before Meeting Her Public

She is called Shilka and has become the new Knut in Russia.

Like the superstar bear from Berlin - which once drew crowds from as far away as Siberia - Shilka's keepers believe she will be pulling in the crowds from all over the world too.

Shilka was born Novosibirsk Zoo, in Siberia, five months ago and made her public debut before adoring crowds this week.

The name was given in honour of the director of the zoo, Rostislav Shilo, and was chosen in a poll of locals. She was the first polar bear to be born in the zoo since 1972.

Huge crowds witnessed her playing with mother Gerda this week and director Shilo believes she will grow into the biggest draw that the zoo has.

He said: "She is cute, she is beautiful and she is young. Of course as she grows she will become a fierce eating machine unable to have any contact with humans, but at this age she is still very friendly with her human carers."

He says that "all efforts" will be made to ensure that she does not become a tragic bear like Knut.

Knut became the most famous bear in the world after he was rejected by his mother at Berlin Zoo and raised by hand. Soon he was pulling in millions for the zoo and there were movies and soft toys in his memory.

But he became addicted to celebrity and it was said he only become animated when there was a camera present. He died of a brain disorder several years ago.

Shilo added: "We hope she is as successful as Knut without having any of his problems."

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