Zoom Gelsenkirchen: Bill, Ella and other animals

May 10th, 2018 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

10.5.2018 by Ralph

Like all male Polar Bears, Bill is not finding it easy to be separated from his mate. However, he is able to communicate with her through a connecting wall between the two enclosures. In this picture he has decided to see if my shopping bag contains any food for him.

 photo _20180426_041247.jpg

 photo _20180426_041339.jpg

Bill was quick to realise that there was nothing of interest to him in the bag but this screen shot from my video gives an idea of how impressive a male Polar Bear he is.

 photo _20180426_041419.jpg

On land Bill shows how long his legs are. All the Gelsenkirchen Polar Bears have much shorter hair than other Polar Bears in German Zoos. They do not get their hair cut, but seem to have adjusted to the milder climate of the Ruhr. They are also Canadian rather than Russian Polar Bears by descent and these bears seem to have shorter fur.

 photo _20180426_041513.jpg

Both Bill and Lara almost look as if they are wearing armour like Iorek in the “Golden Compass”. Bill’s legs have a lovely fur wave as well.

 photo IMG_20180423_134840.jpg

Bill spends a lot of time in the water, often to work out his frustration at being separated with Lara, who he has been with since leaving his mother. Male Polar Bears are much more sensitive about needing company than we have been told in the past.

 photo IMG_20180425_162652.jpg

Bill will cope with being separated from Lara, as Lloyd has done in Bremerhaven. The keepers and vet in Zoom do not rule out any options for Bill, but at the moment they are keeping him as occupied as they can. It is hard to blame him for missing the lovely Lara.

 photo IMG_20180423_181200.jpg

As with the other Polar Bears in Zoom, Bill has a tablet in front of his enclosure.

Zoom Gelsenkirchen  – Ella

 photo IMG_20180424_160239.jpg

There are four Polar Bears in Zoom Gelsenkirchen: Bill, Lara, Antonia and Nanook. But there is also Ella. Since Zoom is divided into three separate areas: Africa, Alaska and Asia, it has decided that each needs an appropriate animal mascot. Leo the Lion represents Africa. JoJo the Orang represents Asia. Ella the Polar Bear represents Alaska. Of course this is mainly a marketing idea for souvenirs and children’s toys. But Ella is a Polar Bear……

 photo IMG_20180425_163527.jpg

I have a soft spot for Polar Bears of all shapes and sizes so Ella is a welcome addition.

 photo IMG_20180424_090431.jpg

Here she introduces younger visitors to the Alaska world and assures them they can use their electronic gadgets.

 photo IMG_20180424_095330.jpg

Here she tells children that they need to be careful on the adventure ride. Berlin Zoo also takes notice of children and this notice on Katjuscha’s board explains why books that show Polar Bears and Penguins together are wrong.

 photo _20180425_151155.jpg

For the adults amongst us, Arctic means bears (Arctos from the Greek) and Antarctic means no bears!

Zoom Gelsenkirchen: Other Animals by Ralph

 photo _20180425_142045.jpg

 photo IMG_20180425_141947.jpg

On the way to the Polar Bears I did meet some other animals in the Alaska part of the Zoo. This baby snow owl was sitting on the ground and making quite a lot of noise The older version was sitting in a niche above.

 photo _20180425_142253.jpg

 photo IMG_20180425_142509.jpg

Three brown bears live in the Alaska world and are often to be found in the water of their large enclosure or watching the Kamchatka bears next door through the grill.

 photo _20180425_142333.jpg

 photo IMG_20180425_142359.jpg

The two Kamchatka bears came from Hamburg where they were renowned for digging holes. They continue to do so, and there is now a concrete floor in their enclosure to ensure they do not escape.

 photo IMG_20180425_143001.jpg

 photo IMG_20180424_093058.jpg

The tunnel between the Sealion pool and the Polar Bears is a popular part of Zoom as the Sealions love to “fly” over the visitors.

Although I spent most of the time I had in Gelsenkirchen with the Polar Bears, there are two other areas: Africa and Asia. On Tuesday afternoon I decided to break out into the Africa world and have a ride on the “African Queen” boat that goes around the lake for a twenty minute ride.

 photo IMG_20180424_133802.jpg

 photo IMG_20180424_132853.jpg

 photo IMG_20180424_133642.jpg

I love Hippos and there are two in Zoom Gelsenkirchen. They can also be visited on land.

 photo IMG_20180425_163726.jpg

On the way out of Alaska world I was able to see a new arrival, a lynx. The Lynx was very interested in visitors.

I did not have time to visit the Asia part of Zoom Gelsenkirchen, but as I am going back in September I shall do so then.

Share |

Leave a comment »

  1. Dear Ralph,

    We don’t meet Bill very often so it’s a great pleasure to meet him here now!

    Bill is an impressive looking bear that deserves all our respect. Like all fathers of newborn cubs he’s forced to a life of a bachelor but luckily he can see Lara and Nanook. And, naturally, he can smell them, too!

    I’m sure the keepers will keep the good chap occupied with toys and other enrichment so he’ll be able to cope with the new situation. He’s lucky being able to stay in his home zoo!

    How interesting that the polar bears in Gelsenkirchen have shorter hair than other polars in Germany. I had no idea …

    I like the idea of every section in the zoo having their special mascots. Ella certainly is a charming representant of the polar bears! 🙂

    All the other animals are very sweet, too, but – surprisingly! 🙂 – my favourites are the brownies. These ‘Alaska’ bears are always so wonderful to see.

    Thank you so much for this report! I’m really glad we could finally have ‘live’ reports from Gelsenkirchen!

    Hugs from Mervi

  2. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for the second part of the report about your visit at the Gelsenkirchen Zoo.

    I agree with you that it might have been a solution to send Bill and even Wolodja to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park while their partners raise the kids.

    You wrote: “Male Polar Bears are much more sensitive about needing company than we have been told in the past.” I´m right there with you…

    I´m afraid it´s not that easy that Bill can smell Lara and can´t be with her, especially in the mating season, but it´s good to know the keepers do their best to keep him occupied.

    You know that I love all bears, especially brown bears, so I am enthusiastic about the keeping of Syrian(?) brown bears and about the Kamtschatka bears from Hamburg in Gelsenkirchen. I think I´ve already seen them as cubs in Hagenbeck.

    Your underwater pics of the sea lions are great.

    I would have liked to take a trip on a boat through “Africa” too.


  3. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for the report about Bill and the other animals. I find that Bill looks nice. We met him in September 2014. He was with Lara together. He walked and swam too.

  4. Lieber Ralph!

    Grossartige Bilder hast du uns aus Gelsenkirchen mitgebracht. Ich erinnere mich gerne an unseren Besuch vor 2 Jahren, ZOOM ist wirklich ein Erlebnis.
    Für die Eisbären -Papas ist es echt nicht leicht, aber Bill hat eine schöne Anlage.

    Liebe Grüße, Erika

  5. Lieber Ralph,

    jetzt habe ich mir auch Deinen zweiten Teil aus Gelsenkirchen angesehen.

    Ich finde, dass Bill auf einigen Bilder Ähnlichkeit mit Wolodja hat. Er hat auch lange Beine und kurzes Fell, und ist kein Kanadier.

    Ich finde es schön, dass Du auch in Gelsenkirchen “nicht nur” bei den Eisbären warst, sondern auch noch einige andere Tiere besucht hast..

    Aber bei dem letzten Bild braucht man wirklich ganz viel Phantasie um zu erkennen, dass es ein Luchs sein soll, wenn ich das richtig verstanden habe. Es gibt ja auch abstrakte Malerei, warum nicht auch abstrakte Fotografie?

    Liebe Grüße

  6. Lieber Ralph

    Danke für die Fortsetzung aus Gelsenkirchen.
    Bill hat einen ungewöhnlich schmalen Kopf für
    einen Eisbären – Wolodja sieht anders aus. 🙂
    Schneeeulen mag ich besonders. Die Luchse
    gibt es bei uns im Wald, aber man sieht sie nie.

    Herzliche Grüße
    Chris 🙂

  7. Lieber Ralph!

    Danke fuer Fotos und intressante Info von gelsenkirchen. Alles sieht sehr gut aus.



  8. Lieber Ralph,
    ich kann dir zu dem Thema Eisbärenbullen nur zustimmen.
    Ich habe immer Felix vor Augen wie er nicht zu Vera konnte weil sie mit Aleut und Gregor beschäftigt war.
    Er hat gelitten und konnte diese Situation überhaupt nicht verstehen.
    Nicht jeder Eisbär reagiert und leidet so extrem und Bill muß sich erst noch an die neue Situation gewöhnen.
    Vielen Dank, für deine Bilder und Infos von Bill.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

  9. dear Ralph,
    Bill looks so lovely in your camera, what a fiendly bear, it is wonderful that you have visited him and also all the other dear animals. Ella and her friends are funny Thank you very much for your interesting report,
    It was a pleasure to read it and watch all the pictures.
    dear greetings and big paw waves to England

  10. Dear Ralph, just discovered your Gelsenkirchen report. Yes, you are right, Bill is a huge bear with long legs. And I have also noticed it before that the Russian polar bears do have a longer fur. And I also agree that zoos still need to learn a lot about the behavior of male polar bears towards females having cubs. As you will recall, sometimes, it is possible to bring the family together when the cub is about 6 months old. Zoos should do more training in that regard. Since the males are living in captivity, one thing is for sure: they are never hungry.