BN and Katited visit Munich with Ralph from 25 to 28 June – Part 2

Jul 10th, 2017 | By | Category: Featured articles

10.7.2017 by Ralph

Like many Zoos Hellabrunn works closely with organisation like Polar Bears International to support research into the condition of Polar Bears in the wild. Hellabrunn tries to give its bears a life as close to natural conditions as possible, and is a leader in the field.

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BN and Katited knew that Yoghi was no longer with us and were pleased to be able to read about this very special bear here, and of course to see him still on TV and in KWM. BN wondered when a new male would come to Hellabrunn. The keepers reassured us that Giovanna would have plenty of time to bring up Quintana on her own, and that there was no pressure to have a new male. Nor would Hellabrunn ever make Giovanna travel away again. She was Hellabrunn’s Polar Bear. But Yoghi is still mentioned by the keepers and they loved him very much.

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Recreating the conditions of the wild in a Zoo is not easy. BN and Katited were not surprised to learn how clever Polar Bears are. Each day at 1530 the keepers explain to the visitors about the Hellabrunn Zoo Polar Bears. However, their work begins long before the public arrive. Not only do they have to keep all the enclosures clean and tidy and prepare the bears’ food, they also have to plan a whole day of enrichment with toys and hidden food or special tests.

This Hellabrunn method is matched behind the scenes, where the keepers establish a relationship with Giovanna and Quintana using touch training and treats to allow the bears to be examined without dangerous anaesthetics.

BN asked about Nobby and how he had been prepared for Doncaster, which BN had now visited many times. The keepers were pleased to hear that Nobby, like his sister Nela, was doing well in a new Zoo and included this In their talks.

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Giovanna was born in November 2006 in Fasano in Italy and came to Hellabrunn in 2008. During 2009 and 2010 she was in Berlin with Knut. When she returned to the Zoo she and Yoghi became partners very quickly. Yoghi relied on Giovanna to check out anything new and they were a great couple. Giovanna reared her first two cubs and her new cub splendidly. The photos and films here in KWM proved that.

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Our first glimpse of Giovanna on Sunday afternoon was a very significant one. She rested inside the entrance to her den, with Quintana beside her, a rack of meat clasped securely and a large green canister nearby.

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There was no need to look for the other enclosure as this sign made it clear how to follow the tunnel which connected the arctic with the tundra enclosures.

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BN and Katited were reading about Quintana and thinking that it was already hard to remember that she had started life no bigger than a guinea pig.

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Giovanna had another favourite position. Like all Polar Bears in Zoos she has selected a position like a throne where she can sit and keep an eye on what is going on. It is not hard to see why she is the Queen of Hellabrunn.

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For most of the time, but not all, Giovanna seemed to prefer the Arctic because this was where the tests and treats had been laid. At the start of the day, though, sleeping on the Tundra was a good option. BN and Katited were impressed by how much Quintana had grown from her pictures.

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The glass windows by the water pools are a real highlight with bears and visitors alike. Katited had to admit that Giovanna had an impressive head and was like Kati in Berlin.

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Just in case visitors cannot find Giovanna and Quintana, there are plenty of reminders around the Zoo.

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BN and Katited fell about laughing at this picture. The silhouettes showing Giovanna and Quintana and a large fat Englishman to the same scale. Katited thought Giovanna and Quintana would enjoy lunch with me!

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There are so many wonderful pictures and videos of Giovanna and Quintana online. We met Anita and Eva who provide some of the best. I am not sure who is the greatest fan of Giovanna, Anita or Mrs Koehler, the Chief Bear Curator, but I am sure that Hellabrunn is in excellent hands. The Polar Bears and humans are a genuine family. I hope that Doncaster and Hellabrunn will keep up their great work.

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This poster from the Zoo shop of Giovanna and Quintana sums up the pride of Hellabrunn. I am fortunate to be able to visit Nobby so frequently in Doncaster, but a bit of me would like to get back to see Giovanna and Quintana some time. BN and Katited of course too.

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  1. Dear Ralph

    Thank you for the second part of your Hellabrunn report.
    I had to smile about the silouette of the bears and a man
    from Kidlington – how would such a meeting be in real? 😉
    Your photos are interesting, although they are shot “only”
    with your phone. But we have much fantasy and, like you
    said, there are so many brilliant pics of the Fototanten. 🙂

    Chris 🙂

  2. Dear Ralph,

    We all miss Yoghi but it’s good to know he’s not forgotten but the keepers who loved him so much still mention him by the ‘bear talk’. It’s also good to know there’s no hurry to send Quintana away. There’s place for her even when Giovanna feels she’s old enough to be separated from her.

    We often envy the zoo keepers and picture the sweet scenes when they’re interacting with their animals. However, being a keeper means hard work although, of course, healthy and happy animals are rewarding.

    I’m sure the keepers and Frau Köhler were glad to hear the good news of Nobby. You were the right person to bring the news!

    Just like all the polar bear ladies Giovanna is very queen like. She knows she’s a beauty and likes to present herself to the admiring visitors. 🙂

    In Hellabrunn it’s possible to see the polar bears very close. I can imagine how you felt when Quintana came to the glass panel!

    The photo of you, Giovanna and Quintana (well, not the real ones but still!) must be a real treasure for you. 🙂

    I want to thank you, BN and Katited for this charming report!

    Hugs from Mervi

  3. Dear Ralph!
    I liked the second part of your travel report about your trip to Munich as much as the first.
    I found it amusing and informative the same time. Katited and BN surely learned a lot about travelling in general and, in particular, about polar bears.
    Your photos are special too. Sometimes it seems you made them with a soft focus lens

    It is really touching that our deeply missed gentlebear Yoghi still appears on the information board and is mentioned in the polar bear talks during the feeding.

    I agree that Giovanna is another queen among female polar bears. She´s a beauty and a wonderful mother for her kids.

    The difference in size beetween humans and polar bears is really impressive . The pic with you in front of the silhouettes of Giovanna and Miss Q. made it very clear.
    By the way: you are not fat.

    I´m happy you had a good time in Hellabrunn.

    All the best, hugs

  4. Dear Ralph,
    I am glad you, BN and Katited had a nice time in Hellabrunn.
    It is very sad that Yoghi is no more alive. His passing away broke the hearts of his keepers. Yoghi was a wonderful male bear.
    You brought us very nice pictures.

  5. Lieber Ralph

    Ich danke Dir für Deine Sicht der Dinge.
    Es ist für mich immer wieder sehr interessant, wie andere Besucher Hellabrunn erleben.
    Ob nun Frau Köhler oder ich der größere Fan von Giovanna ist, lässt sich schwer feststellen:-))
    Wir lieben beide nun mal die wundervollste aller Eisbärendamen !

    Klar wirst Du Hellabrunn wieder besuchen.
    Du bist doch dem Charme unsere Giovanna völlig erlegen:-)

    Liebe Grüße

  6. Lieber Ralph,

    danke für den zweiten Teil Deines Berichtes aus Hellabrunn.

    Du hast schöne Tage in Hellabrunn verbracht, auch wenn Yoghy bestimmt sehr gefehlt hat.

    Liebe Grüße

  7. Thank you all for your kind comments.
    As Anita will know, I am of course really a fan of the old Polar ladies like Kati and Zora. But, Giovanna has the star quality and I love the idea of her being in Hellabrunn for at least another quarter century!

  8. Thanks for PART2 of your HALLBRUNN-report, dear RALPH.
    It’always interesting to get your and your travel-mates personal impressions as well as background information from your conversations with keepers and other visitors.

    Like the mirroring pic with the water drops!

    “BN and Katited fell about laughing at this picture. The silhouettes showing Giovanna and Quintana and a large fat Englishman”. Nice to see these lovely silhouettes – I just missed to discover ‘a fat Englishman’ 😉

    The postr is cuter than cute!

    I am afraid you didn’t see my question where the name of ‘Katited’ came from. Does it mean ‘KATI-Teddy’ by any chance???

  9. Dumba

    Sorry I thought I had answered this one in the last thread, but you are right of course.
    I wanted a name to indicate she was a plush animal rather than a plastic one.

  10. dear Ralph,
    thank you for the second part of your report from Hellabrunn, I am glad you have seen Giovanna and Quintana that they have such a good time together in their big and excellent enclosure. Of course seeing Giovanna brings always the remember of Yoghi. Nobody of his keepers and his friends can forget him
    It is so good to meet also dear friends in the Zoo. Thank you for all the informations and the nice pictues
    dear greetings to you, BN and Katited, I hope Mini-Kati is not too sad, a soft hug to her

  11. Dear Ralph, your Part II is dedicated to the 2 stars of Hellabrunn: Mother and Daughter. But it is good to read that nobody has forgotten how wonderful Yoghi was. I am sure that he is still deeply missed there. And another pleasure is that you could tell them about you visiting their beloved Nobby in Doncaster. I suppose that the lunch with Giovanna and Quintana and you means that you will form the main dish!!!!! And then of course, it goes without saying that both would like this plan.

  12. Lieber Ralph,
    für mich ist es sehr interessant und auch unterhaltsam, die Hellabrunner Eisbären und das ganze drumherum
    aus deiner Sicht zu sehen.
    Natürlich sind BN und Katilein auch dabei und dürfen ein wenig von der Münchner-Atmosphäre erleben.
    Vielen Dank, mir hat es gefallen und ich hoffe du hast nicht nur Eisbären besucht, denn auch die Orangs
    sind einfach Spitze.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K