My visit in Aalborg – Close-ups and personal reflections

Sep 2nd, 2018 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

2.9.2018 by Ralph


First thing in the morning will either find the family resting after a busy night or early morning session, but sometimes they are still playing in the lower pool. The large viewing panels are easily and quickly reached from the rest of the enclosure.


Unlike in Zoo am Meer, the panels in some cases allow the bears to be seen both above and under water. This shot of the family in the water with their toys and the range of the enclosure is unequalled in any European Zoo.


Twigs and leaves are a delight for all polar bears. I always wonder why some zoos do not make more use of them. Anyone for a Polar Bear cocktail?


The paws are a reminder that this lady can do real damage if she wants to. The keepers always ensure that when feeding the bears, they stop if the paws start coming through the bars, this teaches the bears to associate good behaviour with food.


Clutching her favourite ball, Nuka comes to the window to meet the public.


The cubs love to look at visitors through the viewing glass while playing.


The cubs, I think this is Nuka in a rare clean moment, are still wonderfully curious and eager to examine anything in and around their enclosure. There are so many different glass panels that I found it a fun game to see if they would follow me across the pool. Sometimes towards the end of the week, they did.


Both Nuka and Qilaq enjoyed this game, and would come to see me or whoever was around.


The cubs are still young enough to enjoy human or animal visitors. Their eager faces and alert ears and eyes are a delight. I think this is Qilaq from the marking on her nose, but..





I have mentioned in another story, how establishing eye contact with the cubs over several days produced some wonderful encounters. Although there is glass between us, I cannot imagine anyone getting closer to a polar bear in the wild, at least when not tranquilised.


I had got so used to Qilaq being interested in playing the contact and submission game that I was not sure what to make of her bringing the remains of a meal to me. Polar Bears like to bring presents to each other. No, perhaps not, but I did feel honoured to be allowed to share a meal with her. Perhaps sharing my sandwiches through the glass had been appreciated.


The Aalborg cubs have been a highlight for me since Spring last year. They have grown up with a superb mother and in an environment as close to the wild as possible, and with none of the dangers faced by their wild cousins. It is possible that Malik may keep them with her until the Spring or longer.



I know that I tend to spend most of my time when I visit Zoos with the Polar Bears, but I do also try to see the other animals in the Zoos. Here is a small sample of some of the animals that caught my eye and phonecamera in Aalborg.


Ring Tailed Lemurs are always a delight and I managed to catch this family group inside their house one evening.


One of the newer inhabitants of the African area of the Zoo is this Pygmy Hippo, which was just about the emerge from the water, and then decided to go back to sleep.

Next to the Polar Bear enclosure is the Predator House, which is home to lions and tigers, who both have generous outside enclosures. They do spend some time inside as well, where they are easier to photograph with a phone.


The Asian Lions have cubs this year, and one of them came really close to the bars.



The cubs are quite a handful.


I caught the tiger having a nap, and just loved the way the tail hung down.


Between the Polar Bears and the main restaurant block there is a small family of reindeer. At the moment they are all female.



Next to the Reindeer enclosure was this interesting sign explaining the importance of Ravens in Aalborg Zoo. The Zoo is surrounded by a forest, where some 800 to 1000 of the birds make their nests. They help keep the Zoo free of pests.


The forest covers much of the route from my hotel to the Zoo.


After spending so much time with Nuka and Qilaq through the glass, I was delighted to find this lady in the Zoo shop and take her back to the hotel with me. She is now safely in England with Sisu and co.


This Polar Bear walking stick badge is very impressive.


On the morning of my last day in Aalborg this lovely rainbow appeared through my hotel bedroom window to tell me that it was time to go to the Zoo and say my farewells.


In case you are wondering what happened to BN and Star? I am afraid that they discovered that Uncle Sergei had hired a penthouse in this hotel near the Zoo. I did not enquire too closely, but Polar Polar parties were mentioned when I overheard them chatting on the flight home. Oh well, I suppose they do handle my security very well. I am not sure what Madam Nini and Malik will say.

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  1. Dear Ralph

    Thank you for the second part of your report
    from Aalborg. The underwater pics are nice.
    We also can meet some other animals of
    the zoo.


  2. Dear Ralph
    You had a great time in Aarlborg again.
    Thank you for all the information and the pictures.


  3. Dear Ralph,

    Your photos give us a good idea of how close you could take pictures of the polar bears. Some of them are real master pieces! I can’t pick a favourite – there are so many of them. 🙂

    Twigs and leaves are great ‘eatable toys’. This make me think of our cats – we have bought them lots of toys but what do they play with? They love paper bags and cardboard boxes! 🙂

    Malik and her daughters are also learning good ‘table manners’ mentored by the keepers.

    I can picture the scenes when you were playing ‘catch me if you can’ with the polars. 🙂

    Of course, there are many other sweet animals in this zoo and you were lucky to see many newborns, too. And you also saw a rainbow through your hotel window!

    Your week with Malik, Nuka and Qilaq has been a fantastic chance to get to know these polar bears and their special characteristics. It’s been a great pleasure to see the photos and read your texts. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Hugs from Mervi

    PS. I’m sure your small traveling companions were very satisfied with this trip, too! 🙂

  4. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for the third part of your report about your trip to Aalborg.
    Again it was a pleasure to read it and view the photos..
    The underwater pics at the pane are fantastic.
    It must have been quite a fabulous experience to watch these bears playing so close in wonderful clear water.

    To see a rainbow is always a special joy and considered as meaningful by many people.


  5. Dear Ralph,
    you had many nice experiences with polar bears in the zoo Aalborg.

  6. Dear Ralph!

    Thank you very much intresting text and photos. I´m glad You find a friend to Sisu and co.



  7. Those large viewing panels are a right gift to the visitors. Are’nt they!?
    This is again a very nice report. I can imagine how uplifting it is to be so close to polar bears – and especially to those young beauties in AALBORG. The underwater pics – especially those with algea – and close ups are gorgeous (thanks again to your friend). . . . But also the photos you had taken with your phone (I suppose) made us see something of the other animals the home of whom is also the AALBORG ZOO. . . And I am really happy to see for once again a real RAINBOW (I personally didn’t see any for a long time even though there were weather phenomenons that earlier did cause stringently a rainbow (e.g. Rain and sun together).
    Thank you for report, observations and pics and thanks to MERVI for the editorial work.

  8. Lieber Ralph,

    deine Beobachtungen und Fotos von den Youngsters in Aalborg sind sehr beeindruckend.
    Ich denke schon, dass die Bären sehr wohl manche Besucher besonders intensiv beobachten
    und vielleicht auch deinen Hut gerne als Spielzeug hätten.
    Ich finde es toll, dass du dir immer soviel Zeit am Bärengehege nehmen kannst.
    Daher rĂĽhren auch deine so liebevollen Langzeitbeobachtungen.

    Herzlichen Dank und liebe GrĂĽĂźe!

  9. Dumba
    Thank you for your kind remarks. In this last part of the report all the Polar Bear shots were video captures from my phone. For some reason the video is sharper than the ordinary camera shots. It helps that the bears are as close as they appear in the shots.

  10. Lieber Ralph,
    wieder sehr interessant deine Beobachtungen bei den Eisbärenkids in Aalborg.
    Bin beruhigt zu sehen, daß mit der Eisbärenhaltung alles OK ist und du würdest es
    erkennen wenn es nicht passen wĂĽrde.
    Danke Dir ganz herzlich fĂĽr deinen Bericht Teil2!
    Liebe GrĂĽĂźe Moni K