Vera's cub to get official name

By Anastasia Tomazhenkova: The keepers at the Nuremberg zoo have dubbed Germany's latest famous polar bear cub Flocke - German for flake, as in snow flake. But what will celebrity cub be called? The decision was to be announced in the afternoon.

Ulrich Maly, Nuremberg Mayor, 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 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 decision came after Vera was filmed carrying her cub in her jaws and tossing it around her enclosure at Nuremberg Zoo.

It also came amid fears that another polar bear at the zoo, Vilma, has eaten her two new-born cubs.

The Bavarian city's zoo made the decision to bottle-feed the cub and not return her to her mother.

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."

Deputy zoo director Helmut Maegdefrau said they wanted to avoid any repetition of "Knut mania", a popular craze triggered by a hand-reared bear cub at Berlin Zoo last year. 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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