A polar bear in a zoo might look like an adorable giant stuffed animal, but if you met a hungry one in its native environment, it would seem more savage — wild and fierce — than cute.
Describing an animal as savage means that it is true to its wild, ferocious nature, but if you describe a person or the actions of a person as savage, it means "cruel" or "brutal." A place can also be described as savage if it's untamed, uninhabitable, and unwelcoming. When savage takes the form of a noun, it means "a brutal person," and when it's a verb it means "to attack ferociously." Any way you use it, savage is uncivilized and violent.