First Day in Denmark: 13 August 2019: Noel in Copenhagen Zoo

Aug 28th, 2019 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

28.8.2019 by Ralph Morton

I had decided during the hot days at the end of July and August to make a final trip this year to Denmark. With Imaq in Copenhagen and Nuka and Quillak in Aalborg, there were some lovely bears to see while they were still young.

After the various difficulties with the IT system and strikes involving British Airways and London Airport I was not sure whether I would arrive on time on Thursday. However, all went well and I made such good time that I did not even need to take a taxi to the Zoo. 80 Krone buys a 24 hour ticket for bus, train and metro in inner Copenhagen. Trains from the Airport to Copenhagen Central Station run every few minutes. The No6 bus that stops at the Zoo is a short walk from the station.

The weather was dull and wet, which was okay by me as it makes using the camera on my phone easier and I prefer the cool.

I should have bought an annual ticket for the Zoo, but it is so quick to get in, I have not bothered.

I was expecting to see Lynn and Imaq in the big Arctic enclosure, so I was surprised to see a lone Polar Bear in the ditch beside the main enclosure.


At first I assumed this had to be Lynn and wondered where Imaq was hiding. The bear seemed to be sniffing out various small treats on the floor of the ditch.


Polar Bear gardening is a well-known part of Knutis Weekly. After a while the bear started to climb the stairs up to the main enclosure. No Imaq in sight, so I decided this had to be Noel.


Despite the recent hot weather Noel’s fur looked thick and healthy.


A beautifully illustrated chart on the concrete wall of the enclosure describes how it allows the bears to exercise their natural behaviour by rooting for food, seeking shelter, resting, playing, catching food, swimming, climbing and occupying them. It ensures that the Polar Bears have a varied and interesting life.


A further richly illustrated chart explains that the enclosure resembles a small slice of an Arctic coast so that the Polar Bear can behave as it would in the wild.


Not everything about the Arctic enclosure works. There is a lot more walking between viewing areas than in other Zoos. In some places, anti-glare mesh has had to be installed. It ruins proper photographs but does give you an idea of what scientists might see through the windows of a hide in the Arctic.


It never rains like this in Churchill or Svalbard, but Noel still looks impressive seen through the protective screen. Noel was heading for the water and I had a much longer and more complicated way to follow.


I found Noel standing on the edge of the glass roofed tunnel at the entrance to the Arctic world.


She was obviously following something on the surface with great interest.


Finally, I got this shot of Noel. She is an impressive lady.


The glass surface presents no problems for a Polar Bear with her large fur covered paws.


Noel soon decided to go back to the main enclosure. Filming this shot in the wild would take either a lot of equipment or a brave diver!

The characteristic Polar Bear swimming position of rear paws tucked up and front paws paddling can just about be seen here.


Here is a better view of Noel just under the rain-swept surface, her paws still tucked up.


The main viewing hall in the Arctic den is a special place to see bears both above and under the water.

Like all old female bears, Noel has adjusted her routine to check out any enclosure she is in for food or intruders, and then retire inside her den to rest for the day. Fortunately this includes the water.

After this gentle start with the lovely Noel, I was keen to see what had happened to Lynn and Imaq.

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  1. Dear Ralph,

    Sometimes the airplanes are surprisingly right on schedule! 😀 Isn’t it great that the bus stop for 6A is so close to the main railway station and it takes us to the entry of the zoo! The Danish people are very polite and always offer seats to us in the bus when they see our walking sticks. In Malmö that would never happen!

    I’m glad your first report from Denmark is of Nöel. Lynn and Imaq have, naturally, stole the ‘show’ but we mustn’t forget Giovanna’s and Dea’s lovely sister either.

    It’s good that even Nöel can enjoy the new enclosure every now and then. She seems to be doing fine.

    I’m always amazed by the size of the boomsies and the paws of a polar bear and those of Nöel are no exception! Magnifique is the word! 🙂

    Thank you so much for the first Copenhagen report!

    Hugs from Mervi

  2. Dear Ralph!
    Guess what pics I like most?
    Exactly! Those on which Noel is standing or sitting on the edge of the glass roofed tunnel.
    What a remarkable view of a polar bear lady…

    Sometimes when we travel Murphy´s law is in force: everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
    Fortunately not this time. You were lucky all went well and you had a good time with Noel on your first day.


  3. Dear Ralph,
    I like the pictures of Noel in the tunnel.

  4. A most interesting report with great photos from NOEL – especially those under water.
    Thank you very much for sharing, dear RALPH.
    And thanks to you, dear MERVI, for the editorial work.