ZOOM Gelsenkirchen, December 2018: Lara and Nanook

Jan 6th, 2019 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

6.1.2019 by Ralph

Although I missed spending time with Lara and Nanook in September, I was fortunate this time to spend two days with them.

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My first sight of them was at 1005 on Monday morning, after they had had their morning swim. They were a long way from the viewing area, but Nanook can be seen resting against Lara’s back.

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Lara spends a lot of time visiting the edge of the enclosure where she can be close to Bill. She will also patrol her enclosure to see if the keepers are around with any treats. Nanook follows at a respectful distance. Although only a year old, she has learned to be obedient to Lara at all times.

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Lara is very relaxed and confident about Nanook’s ability to look after herself. However, at any sign of danger or something new, she will be right there with her daughter.

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Lara did not play with or feed Nanook while I was there. Nanook seems to be treated like a two year old cub, and behaves very maturely. I did not see her pester Lara for milk at all.

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The keepers ensure that Nanook has plenty of treats to keep her occupied. Apples serve as both footballs and snacks.

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Although not as playful as Giovanna with Quintana, Lara is a close and caring mother. She is always there when Nanook needs her.

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These two shots near the glass windows show the relaxed state of mother and daughter. Nanook is so grown up, that they could almost be sisters.

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Lara is a beautiful bear, and her fur has grown somewhat since I last saw her in April, but is still shorter than Katjuscha’s.

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Unlike other mothers with young cubs, Lara does not seem to play much with Nanook. She is always watching her to make sure she does not come to any harm, but has taught Nanook many of the skills of an adult bear, such as finding interesting toys, watching for the keepers, or searching the enclosure for snacks.

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Lara is large for a female bear, rather like the Rostock ladies.

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When she comes near the glass windows, it is possible to see her size.

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Here, Lara is making sure that I am not doing anything to Nanook.

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Any possible source of treats has to be examined.

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Lara uses her nose to check out the main doors to the enclosure.

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The Lady is for turning. Lara has checked out the door and gets back to other hunting.

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Purely in the interests of science of course……….

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Sorry, Lara. Hope this lovely shot makes up for it.

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  1. Dear Ralph,

    This time you were lucky to see Lara and Nanook during your stay in Gelsenkirchen.

    Lara is a good mother and mentor to Nanook who has already learnt a lot from her mama. She also knows it’s better to do what mama tells her to do. 🙂 Nanook is self confident but, of course, it’s good to have the protecting Lara close to her almost all the time.

    I’m glad to see the polar bears have lots of enrichment in their enclosure. The apples really are ‘multi toys’ – playable and eatable! 🙂

    Thank you for this charming report!

    Hugs from Mervi

  2. Hallo Ralph

    Du bringst interessante Fotos mit aus Gelsenkirchen.
    In der Tat ist Nanook enorm gewachsen! Sie macht
    aber einen sehr ruhigen Eindruck – ebenso wie ihre
    Mutter Lara. Sie scheinen wenig zu spielen, sind
    aber immer neugierig, was außen vorgeht. Es ist
    schön, die Bären so nah an der Scheibe zu sehen.

    Liebe Grüße
    Chris 🙂

  3. Dear Ralph,
    it is great to see Lara and Nanook together. Nanook is no more a baby, she is a nice girl now. You did not see Nanook at playing. Some times the bears have the calm days too.

  4. Dear Ralph!
    I´m happy for you that you could see Lara and Nanook at least in December.
    You are an attentive observer and your report proves that. Both bears look good and obviously they´ve got everything they need.
    Lara is a good teacher for her daughter and Nanook already learnt a lot.
    It´s a pity that Lara does not play with Nanook, so she has to play alone.
    Fortunately the keepers give the bears many toys and keep them occupied…


  5. Lieber Ralph,
    es gibt Tage an denen eben nicht so ausgiebig gespielt wird.
    Lara lernt ihrer Tochter alles was sie für ihr zukünftiges Zooleben braucht und das ist das Wichtigste.
    Danke Dir für deinen schönen Bericht von Lara und ihrer schon recht großen Tochter.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

  6. Thank you, dear RALPH, for an as entertaining as informative report of your two days visit to the polar bears (especially to LARA and her daughter NANOOK, obviously not so much spoiled by her mother than we were used to see with other mother-and-cub-couples) at ‘ZOOM Gelsenkirchen’. Good you also never forget to include a sense of humour detail (‘purely in the interest of science’!). I am more than sure LARA did forgive you anyway!