My Autumn Trip to Gelsenkirchen – Bill

Oct 12th, 2018 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

12.10.2018 by Ralph

Bill and the Green Stuff

(I apologise for the small size and quality of these photos, as they are captures from videos which I shot on my phone and cannot be downloaded)

Monday 10th September and Tuesday 11th September

Although I was not able to see Lara and Nanook up close, Bill and Antonia more than made up for this. On previous visits to Zoom, I had not managed to get many pictures of Bill. He is a large and very athletic Polar Bear, who normally spends a lot of time trying to communicate with Lara, at the wall which divides them. With Lara inside, Bill was more interested in using his enclosure.

One of the reasons for the enclosures needing cleaning, was the hideous green stuff in the water which had grown up during the Summer. Once Lara and Nanook’s enclosure was cleaned, Bill and Antonia were due to have theirs cleaned too.

Bill had decided to make a start on the cleaning himself, especially as the green stuff is quite edible and helps his digestion.


The Summer has led to Bill’s fur being really short. He was working out where to start on the green stuff.


As we know, Polar Bears have no facial expressions, but Bill seems very pleased with himself, after a snack from the green stuff.

Polar Bears enjoy gardening, and Bill is no exception.


Gardening is a serious business, and Bill was hard at work for much of the day.


Like all Polar Bears, Bill has an excellent sense of balance, and had no difficulty walking back and fro on the narrow path between the island and the glass. He made sure he had a snack handy just in case.


Bill enjoys a good crowd, and paused now and again to allow people to appreciate what a fine Polar Bear he is.


A Polar Bear’s work is never done and no sooner was one side cleared, than the green stuff was back on the other side. Fortunately Bill has plenty of time on his paws.


In between his cleaning duties, Bill was up to a lot more. His fast swim-bys at the windows in the tunnel between the Polar Bears and the Sealions came out on my videos but not in the photo captures. Fortunately Zoo had done the shot for me on a nearby board.

Bill and the War on Plastic

Normally, Bill, the male Polar Bear in Zoom Gelsenkirchen, spends much of his time talking to Lara though the connecting wall between their enclosures. However, Lara and Nanook were in their den, while the nasty green stuff was being cleaned in their pool.

Bill was putting his new found spare time to good use. Like all Polar Bears, Bill is very curious to know what is going on in the world. It seemed that someone wanted him to help solve the problem of too much plastic in the world’s oceans and had given him a typical plastic canister to examine. Bill knew already that these things could not be eaten, but he would have a good go at getting rid of it.


Bill is a very methodical Polar Bear, and the first step in his work, was to put the canister on his table. Unfortunately, it kept rolling off, so Bill had to think of another plan.


After a bit of Polar Bear squashing, the canister stopped rolling into the water, Then Bill noticed that a crowd of two-legs were watching him at the glass window. Since they made this stuff, maybe they could tell him what to do with it. Bill brought it to show them. No help there, so Bill decided that he would solve the problem as a Polar Bear should and took it away again.


Serious work needs plenty of room, so Bill got it back in the water.


Bill’s pool has a handy table just below the surface where a bear can do some hard folding and crushing.


The favoured method for crushing anything if you are a Polar Bear is to get two paws and press down hard.


Once you have softened it up, squash it some more. Bill was not pleased that the thing could not be eaten. But at least he had made it a lot smaller.


Finally he brought it back to show the crowd. Bill decided that they should sort the thing out.

Bill and his friends in Zoos would like you all to bring your plastic to them rather than their cousins in the Arctic. Better still, could you eat your food the Polar Bear way, without any wrapping!

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  1. Dear Ralph

    Thank you for the interesting photos of Bill.
    He is a very skillful worker, especially with
    the white barrel. 😉

    Chris 🙂

  2. Dear Ralph,
    it is great to see Bill playing with the white barrel.

  3. Dear Ralph,

    We don’t see or read so much about Bill so your presentation is more than welcome!

    I like to see Bill being such a devoted gardener. He even seems to like all kinds of green eatable stuff. 🙂

    I think the ‘war’ between Bill and the white canister ended 6-0 to Bill’s favour! 🙂

    Thank you for this charming article!

    Hugs from Mervi

  4. Dear Ralph!
    Good to know that Bill is doing fine while he is seperated from Lara.
    Thank you for your individual and expressiv pics and the humorous text.

    Many bears like the taste of algae and duckweed. I remember having watched Aika, Petzi, Siddy and recently Kati when enjoying this special food.
    As far as I know Bill is the first male from whom this is reported, a clever, impressive and goodlooking bear!

    I´m happy for him the keepers ensure sufficient toys for him so he is able to live out his play-instinct.
    It is great he likes to present himself to the visitors. Everybody must be charmed of him…


  5. Lieber Ralph,

    es ist schön, dass du Bill einen eigenen Eintrag widmest, denn die Bärenväter
    stehen immer etwas im Schatten ihrer niedlichen Bärenkinder.
    Bill weiß sich zu beschäftigen und Algen sind bei Braunbären eine sehr beliebte
    Nahrungsergänzung. Im Eismeer gibt es bestimmt keine Algen und deshalb
    sind sie im Zoo wohl mehr interessante Spielobjekte als Nahrung.

    Danke für deinen interessanten Bericht!

  6. Dear Ralph, first of all, your pics are becoming better and better.
    Your story on how Bill treated the barrel is splendid. Hopefully, mankind will realize how to treat their plastic trash. With regard to the duckweed, I think that no bears (brownies, blackies ot whities) will have a problem with that. It is a natural product and they – in most cases – even love to eat it.
    Nevertheless, I am very happy to see your pics of Bill: he is a very handsome dude, isn’t he. And I am quite sure that after some decent time, Lara will be happy to meet him again.

  7. Lieber Ralph,
    schön zu sehen, dass sich Bill beschäftigen kann und so Lara nicht sehr vermisst.
    Bären fressen alles und Algen sind eine nette Nahrungsergänzung.
    Welche Kraft so ein Eisbär hat ist zu sehen wie schnell er den großen Kanister zusammen faltet.
    Danke Dir für deine schönen Bilder und dein wie immer humorvollen Texte.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

  8. lieber Ralph,

    ich finde es auch gut, dass Du einen Bericht nur über Bill geschrieben hast.
    Allerdings fehlt mir im Moment die Zeit und auch die Musse, den langen Bericht zu übersetzen.

    Da wir uns ja im Dezember sehen, wirst Du mir ja sicher von Deinem Trip nach Gelsenkirchen berichten.

    Es ist schön, Bill mit dem Kanister spielen zu sehen.

    Liebe Grüße