My Second day in Aalborg Zoo: Thursday 15 August – The afternoon

Oct 10th, 2019 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

10.10.2019 by Ralph Morton

After our wonderful session with the Polar Bears, Jeanette told us that she had arranged a very special event.


We were going to be split into two groups and taken behind the scenes to have a keeper talk and meet the Orangs: Djimat and his daughter, Cinta. I was especially pleased because over the years I have always dropped in on the Berlin Orangs. Usually Monika aus Berlin has been with me and brought me up to date on their activities.

There is a lovely film by Jeanette of her group with the Orangs here.


Photo by kind permission of Susanne Hansen

My respect for the Orangs increased considerably when the keeper warned us that we had to take our jackets off and leave our mobile phones behind. Orangs are very clever and take any opportunity to take items they like from visitors. They are also very strong, with huge muscle filled hands. It would be even more important to feed them with tweezers than it had been with the Polar Bears. Cinta demonstrated how smart and also decisive Orangs could be when she climbed above Djimat and “pinkled” on him to get him to move away and let her have some snacks.

I could not take any pictures of the session as my phone was safely in the keeper’s room. But that meant I could concentrate on being up close with these amazing animals. To quote some of the teenage climate protesters I now “get” Orangs!


Dangerous in their own way are the giant anteaters. Although they have access to a grass and wooded outside enclosure the heated South America house and a supply of tasty food in liquid form means they are often to be found inside. Because Denmark is a well-ordered and educated country, the anteaters are in an open enclosure and we are warned not to try to touch them. One look at the huge claws on an anteater ought to be enough to assure this. In the picture above you can just see the tongue on the animal in front.


The food hole is shared happily between the two. After many visits to Berlin where I have never been able to see the anteaters up close, this is a real treat.


The anteaters are obviously used to nice visitors as they even put their tongues through the bars.


The floor of their indoor compound also offers chances to find insect treats. The claws do not come out in the pictures because of the dark background.


I did get to see this young Anteater on a previous visit. Not sure if it is one of the two.


The anteaters share their house with tapirs and sloths. Here are the two tapirs.


Outside another South American animal familiar to Berlin Zoo visitors had just had young. The photo does not show the generous sized enclosure which the Capybara share with Mara.


This picture shows that the young were only ten days old when we visited.


Just like Wolodya in Berlin, the girls enjoy collecting their favorite toys together.

Polar Bear noses are designed to go into holes of whatever size!


In this case the whole head wanted to follow.


I am always impressed by the thinking which seems to go into these odd looking moves. The paw is used to clamp the two objects firmly in place. Is this tool using?

After further thought she decides to move around a bit.


After a while her head comes out.


For no apparent reason she is satisfied that she has done what she can with the two objects.


The tube has been a favorite toy of all the Aalborg cubs.


Being naturally curious the girls often come to see visitors, especially children.


Sometimes the girls arrive in quite spectacular fashion!


Another safe landing on both paws.


When you have a big sister, toys are not so essential…


Malik taught both girls how to playfight.


They learnt well. Whoever they meet in Belgium will have to watch out for these two.


Malik also taught the girls to make up and be friends after any fights. I hope they will be able to stay together.


Nord meanwhile was asserting his right to control the upper enclosure.


He is definitely going to be one of the biggest males in Europe. It is planned for him to return to Copenhagen as soon as there is room. In the meantime he is now in the Scandinavian Park.


Nord enjoyed watching visitors at the glass. However, he is not as curious as the cubs.


During the afternoon the bears also received snacks and other treats.


Seen through the window of the little trappers’ hut by the big enclosure, Malik took advantage of Nord going into the underground den to look for snacks. She was nervous but being a clever and brave bear she was not going to be denied access to the enclosure.


Nord was asleep in the underground den created by the big boulders in the foreground. This is one of many design features which make the enclosures more interesting for the bears. They can also go back inside their main dens whenever they want (except of course when there are keepers working in them).


Malik enjoys keeping clean in the pool in the upper enclosure and was not going to allow Nord from stopping her.


In this photograph you can see the different levels of surface in the enclosure including the softer mulch areas by the upper fence where the bears are shaded by trees.


A brave Malik inspects traces of where Nord has just been.


In the evening at the end of a long day, Nuka and Quillak have bedded down in the area where they used to be nursed by Malik. They have hollowed out sandier soil beds for themselves under the pebbles, and a boulder makes a Polar Bear sized pillow.

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  1. Dear Ralph,

    You certainly had many surprises arranged by your friends in Aalborg! Getting so close to the animals is always a fantastic experience!

    The orangs are very clever and little Cinta certainly knew how to take her place. 🙂

    During one of my early visits in Berlin I had an opporunity to pet a baby ant eater but I can imagine we can’t do the same with the adults. However, these animals are very cute to look at and you managed to take great photos of them. – The tapirs, capybaras and maras are, of course, very lovely, too.

    Nuka and Quilak are multi talented players as all the polar bear kids are. It’s wonderful to see how they come to say ‘hello’ to the visitors between the water games.

    I’m glad to meet Nord even in this report because now that he lives in the Skandinaviske Dyrepark we will not see photos of him so often. However, we know he’s living in a wonderful place with lots of playmates like Ivan, Siku & Co. I’m sure he’ll be happy there.

    Thank you so much for this charming report!

    Hugs from Mervi

  2. love the Orang-Utan pics in that zoo. They have got a most beautiful ‘boss’.
    And we see a most friendly and happy looking Mr ‘RM’ – really nice.
    Fantastic pics of the Great Anteaters – two synchronized 😉
    Das Schild mit dem kleinen Faultier ist ja auch richtig putzig.

    ‘Your’ playing girls are always an interesting and lovely sight!

    Also the ahown and told interaction are interesting – as interactions always are!


  3. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for the second part of your entertaining report from Aalborg!
    I´m sure you had a great day with many delightful surprises and enjoyed it to the fullest.

    It must have been a wonderful experience getting so close to the orang utans and even had the possibility to spoil them with treats. They are lovable and clever and belong to my absolute favourites in a zoo too.
    You look happy on that photo by Susanne Hansen.

    Though anteaters look very droll and appear quite harmless I learned they can nevertheless become a severe danger even for leopards because of their claws. Their little ones are adorable!

    The pic of the capybaras family with their offspring is enchanting.

    After all you had such a wonderful time with the polar bears, the playful sisters and their gorgeous parents, and saw all of them a last time in Aalborg. I loved your vivid photos, especially those with the tube…
    Thank you for sharing!


  4. Lieber Ralph,
    da kommt bei mir Neid auf, Orangs sind meine Lieblinge und ihnen so nah zu sein das muß toll sein.
    Ameisenbären sind auch Kraftpakete und so außergewöhnliche Tiere.
    Vielen Dank, schön und interessant der Bericht aus Aalborg.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

  5. Lieber Ralph,

    du genießt in Aalborg eine ganz besondere Bevorzugung bei den Pflegern, indem du dich als
    Besucher so nahe bei den Orang Utans aufhalten darfst.
    Um dieses Privileg hinter die Kulissen schauen zu dürfen, wirst du sehr beneidet,
    aber wir gönnen es dir auch von Herzen!

    Die Fotos mit den Bären und ihrer Röhre und im Kontakt mit Kindern gefallen
    mir besonders gut.
    Ich hoffe und wünsche für dich, dass die zwei Yougsters auch in einem andern
    Zoo zusammenbleiben dürfen und du sie auch dort wieder besuchen kannst.

    Die Ameisenbären im Doppelpack sind ebenfalls ganz toll.

    Vielen Dank an Dich und Jeanette für die tollen Fots und den ausführlichen Bericht!

  6. Lieber Ralph,

    auch Dein weiterer Besuch in Aalborg war ein voller Erfolg. Wer würde nicht gerne mal die Orangs füttern?

    Ich finde es echt schön, dass Du in letzter Zeit auch Interesse, ausser an Eisbären, auch an den anderen Zootieren zeigst. Natürlich werden Eisbären immer Deine Favoriten bleiben. Das ist auch völlig o.k.

    Schöne Fotos von den Ameisenbären, aber auch die kleinen Wasserschweinchen sind sehr süß.
    Wir hatten lange keine Jungtiere bei den Wasserschweinen.

    Das mir die Bilder von den weißen Riesen und auch den etwas kleineren weißen Riesen gefallen, muss ich ja nicht betonen.

    Liebe Grüße