My visits to Katjuscha in Berlin Zoo in December 2019

Jan 6th, 2020 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

6.1.2020 by Ralph Morton

Whenever I am in Berlin I always try to visit Katjuscha in Berlin Zoo as often as possible. Thanks to the wonderful photographs that are taken regularly by various correspondents here and on other sites, I have not published my own photographs, as these are captured from videos taken on my mobile phone. However, as this year is Katjuscha’s 35th birthday I have decided to us my own photographs to make a personal tribute to the oldest Polar Bear in Europe.


Katjuscha is the last Polar Bear left in the big enclosure in the Zoo. In the background are the new skyscrapers of West Berlin. Katjuscha is in her favourite place in the entrance to her den where she can keep an eye on what is going on in her neighbourhood.


I usually sit on my favourite bench and wait for Kati to wake up, which she usually does and looks out in my direction.


After a while Kati gets up to stretch her legs and think about coming out.


Kati can often stand for a long time in her doorway checking out her surroundings. If a smell or movement attracts her attention, she will come out of the doorway.


Kati has always liked to take her time, and is a very patient Polar Bear.


Kati looks in the direction of her visitors ….


…. and comes out to see what is going on.


She takes the opportunity to rub her fur on a boulder. Slowly moving forward, Kati is careful in her movements as an old bear.


She ventures forward


Kati looking in the direction of her visitors. She appreciates company.


This used to be where Kati would wait to be fed at the 1030 feeding time. It is still a favourite spot.


Now that there are no longer regular feeding times, Kati continues to check out the visitors.


Like all Polar Bears Kati likes to forage for remnants of food or other objects. Sometimes she will lick the moss or lichen on the boulders.


Nothing escapes Katis sensitive nose. An old piece of skin or meat or just a twig, Kati takes a bite.


Kati investigates even the smallest object to see if it can be eaten. The polar bear lady likes to take care of her fur, and uses the boulders to rub against. The neck needs particular attention.


Still a chance to keep an eye on her visitors.


There is nothing like a good rub to get Kati clean.


An old bear needs a rest now and then ….


Kati pauses to have a break from skincare …


But not for long, movement attracts her attention.


Kati has a mulch bed on the far side of her enclosure but on a damp cold day she is not so keen.


Kati will sometimes check out the other doorways, but not today.


This is my enclosure, Kati seems to be saying. She is happy not to have to share it.


Not Kati but a Polar Bear on Svalbard (from the Hurtigren brochure online) showing how close the terrain in both Zoo and Tierpark is in appearance to the island home.


Kati makes her way back to her den.


Unlike Svalbard Berlin Zoo provides food and medical care for Katjuscha.


This is how I usually say “goodbye” to Kati at the end of my visits. I always hope it will be just “Auf Wiedersehen”. I have been doing this since 2007!

Share |

Leave a comment »

  1. Dear Ralph!
    It is great that Katjuscha is still doing well. She is an old lady and she walks not very fast.
    I am always glad to see the pictures of Kati.

  2. Hi RALPH you succeeded in making very special shots of your favorite female polar bear, KATJUSCHA in ZOO BERLIN.

    I am impressed by the first pic shown in this publication – and the fourth last pic is very unique:
    it looks as having been taken in the wild. Great!

    Thank you.

  3. Lieber ralph,

    hab ganz vielen lieben Dank fürall die schönen Fotos und Bericht über diese liebenswerte und wundervolle Bärin! Irgendwann knuddel ich sie nochmal. 😉

    Liebe Grüße von Brigitte.

  4. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for this declaration of love to Kati!
    Since she is the last Golden Girl in the Berlin Zoo she has a special place in our hearts.
    She was and is a beautiful polar bear with a strong character.
    I´m happy the old lady is still going strong though her great age is increasingly visible.
    Hopefully she will stay with us a while longer.
    I wish her all the love she deserves!


  5. Dear Ralph,

    When I watch the photos and read your words it’s very clear to me how much you love this beautiful old polar bear lady.

    It also seems to me Katjuscha knows very well who her special visitor is! You have a good ‘relationship’ with her.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful report! I hope you will meet Katjuscha again!

    Hugs from Mervi

  6. Lieber Ralph,

    deine Fotos mit der passenden Beschreibung dazu zeigen, wie genau du
    Katjuscha beobachtest und ihre Aktionen interpretierst. Diese Intensität
    berührt mich sehr.
    Man könnte auch sagen:
    Ein älterer Herr und eine sehr alty Lady, die sich kennen und lieb haben!

    Vielen Dank für deine Hommage für Katjuscha mit lieben Grüßen!

  7. Lieber Ralph

    Ich hoffe, Du kannst noch viele
    Besuche bei der alten Dame machen.
    Wer hätte gedacht, dass Katjuscha so
    alt wird – da muss man die Pfleger auch
    mal loben, die viel für ihre Gesundheit
    getan haben hinter den Kulissen… 🙂


  8. Lieber Ralph,
    da hast du vollkommen Recht, im Zoo haben Eisbären Catering und müssen nicht auf Nahrungssuche gehen.
    Auch die medizinische Versorgung ist optimal, wie man gut bei Kati sehen kann.
    Ich wünsche dir auch noch viele viele Kati-Besuche!
    Danke dir für deinen sehr persönlichen Bericht.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

  9. Dear Ralph, your pics are just great and showing your love for this old Lady. Like all others, I hope that you will have the pleasure in visiting Kati during the coming years. Although, she may be slower in walking and of course, being older, on the basis of your pics, it looks to me that she indeed does not mind to be alone in the enclosure and that she is making the best out of her days. Special thanks to her keepers.