Aalborg – Last day with the polar bears

May 4th, 2019 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

4.5.2019 by Ralph Morton

All too soon it was Friday 15 March and time to say a last goodbye to Malik, Nuka and Qilak.

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This photograph could almost have been taken in the wild. A mother bear, followed by two nearly weaned cubs at a respectful distance, ready to obey her instructions in case of danger.

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The pillar of rock on the large enclosure is a favourite place for the family to gather and wait for any keepers to pass by with treats. It seems a long time since the little cubs were trying to beat each other to the top.

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Big sister is now as relaxed as her mother.

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Malik remains firmly in charge of the cubs.

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This Polar Bear pose is a combination of resting and still being alert for anything.

THE FAMILY AT PLAY

Having gathered at the rock pillar, the family soon decided that it was time to play.

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The big green ball happened to be close enough to attract their attention.

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The Polar Bear stomp with both front paws was brought into action.

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In the water it was easier to stomp the ball harder.

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The other sister decided to join in with her front paws.

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Trying to get the ball on land was harder than the bears thought.

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Teamwork did not seem to be solving the problem.

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The ball was not as interesting as teasing sister.

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Sister seemed quite relaxed about being teased.

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Perhaps her feet were ticklish! Perhaps the ball was more interesting after all. 🙂

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Then again perhaps there was something interesting on land.

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A little while later both sisters were back in the water.

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The Aalborg Polar Bears like the boulder field and waterfall at the top of the main enclosure as small items of food often get trapped there.

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Standing on the boulders is no problem for the agile bears.

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Competition to find any floating or submerged treats is fierce.

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The shallow water by the viewing window is a good place to see the bears looking for treats.

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Malik appears to be poking her tongue out as she tastes and smells the air.

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The search for treats brings the bears underwater. There are viewing windows all along the side of the main enclosure, and it is easy to run down and follow the bears as they submerge.

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I am not sure what treat is being recovered, but it is obviously worth eating quickly.

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Even while looking for treats, the sisters still keep an eye on me!

FAREWELL TO A YOUNG POLAR BEAR

It was finally time to say goodbye to the girls in Aalborg. I had been visiting them for two years, since they were small cubs. Although Aalborg intend to let them stay with Malik as long as she has not weaned them, I could not be sure if the family would be together for much longer.

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Being up against the glass with the sisters has been a highlight.
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The features of the Polar Bear, especially the long nose and small ears show clearly.

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The black skin under the fur shows both on the nose and ears.

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This game has been great fun, nose to nose against the glass.

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The eyes are so deep and soulful, but of course the nose is the main sense organ.

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Looking at a young Polar Bear is something very special.

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We matched each other’s head movements almost exactly, as I tried to hold the Knuphone.

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Matching heads involved a lot of contact with the glass for both of us!

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Never forget that the glass is there for a reason, a nip from even a young Polar Bear would be serious.

I hope that Malik and her cubs will be able to stay together for a while longer and that Malik will make the decision to separate from them herself. Aalborg have promised to try to find them homes in good zoos in Western Europe. I shall never forget these two years.

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  1. ‘A combination of resting and still being alert for anything’ seems to be a good attitute in life for every being in next to any situation! . . . Another interesting observation you made with polar bears!

    Love the expression ‘polar bear stomp’ (created by yourself).

    Hilarious description of the play with the huge green ball and of the outcome of the trial ‘to tease sister’ with the conclusion: “Perhaps her feet were ticklish! Perhaps the ball was more interesting after all.”

    MALIK’s tongue seems to be blue and rather ‘slim’ in your picture . . .

    Fantastic pics of noses and eyes next to your own only separated by the necessary visitors’ window!

    What ever will be MALIK’s decision for time for separation from her girls; I am wishing any of the three a good further life, health at all times and enough play material and treats all their lives long.

    Thank you, RALPH.

  2. Dear Ralph!
    I´m convinced you won´t forget none of your visits to young polar bears…
    There are already some of them you were able to watch the development from a small cute cub into a majestic young predator in its prime of life.

    Malik´s girls are special and precious also with regard to the tragical accident and senseless death of her first cub Augo… And they are definitely the last offspring of our beloved Lars!

    Thank you for your colourful and lively report with a lot of special and expressive pics.

    Have a nice weekend
    Anke

  3. Dear Ralph,

    You certainly had a great last day in Aalborg! You could again observe Malik, Nuka and Quilaq very closely and the family was very active presenting all their skils for you.

    The ‘farewell close-ups’ are fantastic!

    Malik has been a good mother and mentor for her daughters so they seem to be ready to leave their mama. However, it’s good to know there’s no hurry. I hope the girls will find good homes when the time comes to leave Aalborg.

    Thank you for all the great reports from Aalborg!

    Hugs from Mervi

  4. Lieber Ralph,

    wir haben uns ja inzwischen schon persönlich gesprochen und uns auch ĂĽber Deine “Bären-Reise” unterhalten.

    Ich habe mir jetzt Deine letzten beiden Berichte und Bilder angesehen. Mir fehlt wirklich die Zeit, die vielen englischen Berichte zu übersetzen. Zumal da manchmal auch nur Blödsinn rauskommt. Ich habe Dir ja mal ein Beispiel gezeigt.

    Deshalb diesmal ein Dank fĂĽr die beiden letzten Aalborg-Berichte und Fotos.

    Liebe GrĂĽĂźe
    Monika

  5. Dear Ralph,
    you had surely a nice time with polar bears in Aalborg. The girls grew a lot. The pictures under water and at the glass are very good.
    Hugs
    Ludmila