Keeping on the Ice Sheet: Berlin December 2019

Feb 9th, 2020 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

9.2.2020 by Ralph Morton


After much effort Tonja has managed to get the large roll on to the ice sheet in her pool.She considers what to do next. She is always looking for new challenges.


However, the roll soon rolls towards to edge.


Keeping it on the ice sheet takes a lot of effort as well. The roll is an impressive size, but so is Tonja! Even so, the roll has moved dangerously close to the edge.


The roll does not seem to want to stay on the ice sheet.


Tonja tries to keep it in place with her head.


She pushes the roll back on to the ice sheet.


The roll goes towards the other side, so Tonja leaps on to the ice sheet. Tonja is not fast enough and the roll has fallen back into the water.


Tonja tries to pull the roll back. She works out what to do next.


Polar Bears are so intelligent that they work out in advance what they are going to do.

The roll has moved away from the ice sheet. Tonja is still thinking about what to do.


A bit later on and the roll has floated to the side of the ice sheet, so Tonja tries to lift it out of the water.


Using her large paws, Tonja tries to hold the roll securely.


Tonja seems to understand that if she pulls the roll towards her it will come up out of the water. Polar Bears learn very quickly.


She is very patient, even though the roll will not move as she wants it to.

Tonja goes back to the tried and tested method of using both paws to force the roll to move. She would use her paws to break into a seal hide like this.


Tonja looks around to see if Hertha will help her. She realises she is on her own, so goes back to trying to pull the roll up the side of the ice sheet.

The Tierpark Berlin unlike to Zoo seems to understand that Polar Bears need a continual challenge to keep them happy and healthy. Tonja and Hertha are proof that this works.


Tonja really is a very elegant Polar Bear, as this shot of her on the ice shows.


Almost like the in Arctic, Tonja on the ice sheet. Her black blaze shows clearly on the nose.

The thick fur round Tonja’s neck is designed to protect her as well as keep her warm.


Hertha comes back to see what Tonja is doing.

Tonja remains a very young Mum at heart and is delighted to play with Hertha again.


Hertha seems to be asking Tonja to come into the water and play with her.


Tonja is eager to play with Hertha and leaps on to the floating roll.

Tonja introduces Hertha to the roll



Polar Bear cubs instinctively wait until Mum shows them that something is safe. Hertha is no exception.


Tonja has brought the roll to the bank to try and see if she can eat it, and also to sharpen her teeth. Hertha is curious but cautious.



Hertha overcomes her suspicions.


Hertha gets closer and closer.


Finally, she decides to join in biting the tempting looking roll.

Teaching Hertha about the roll

Tonja is very pleased with her roll. Now it’s time to show Hertha what her Mum can do.


Hertha is fascinated by the roll


Now she is eager to join in playing with the roll.


Tonja is showing Hertha what she can do with the large roll.


Hertha wants to play with the roll too. Hertha has been watching closely and is soon playing with the roll herself.


Using paws and jaws is not as easy as Tonja makes it looks.


Hertha has watched Tonja well and is soon in action with the roll.


Hertha has also seen her Mum standing on the roll.


Princess Hertha is now Mistress of the Roll!

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  1. Dear Ralph,

    The roll is really big but Tonja masters it very well. I’m truly impressed by this powerful lady!

    I’m sure even Hertha will soon show the visitors how the big challenge is no challenge at all for her. 🙂

    Thank you so much for this nice illustrated story!

    Hugs from Mervi

  2. Hello Ralph

    Its funny, how Tonja teached Hertha,
    to cope with the big cylinder. First
    Hertha feared the roll, but then
    she had fun with the big thing. 🙂
    Thank you for the detailed report.

    Chris 🙂

  3. Lieber Ralph,

    das ist wieder eine wundervolle Studie ĂĽber die Geduld und Tonjas Einfallsreichtum,
    die du in detaillierten Bildern aufzeigst.
    Trotz ihrer eigenen Problembewältigung mit der Rolle hat sie immer wieder Zeit für ihre
    Tochter und spielt im nächsten Moment ausgelassen mit ihr, um ihr die Geheimnisse der
    “Rollenbewältigung” zu zeigen – groĂźartig!

    Danke für die schöne Bilderserie und liebe Grüße!

  4. Very exciting moments! One doesn’t dare to breath even only while watching this immense effort and force that’s needed for the shown actions by T’ONJA. She must have been completely exhausted thereafter(!?). But o, she simply continues to be active on an other field: teaching and loving her as gorgeous as cheeky daughter.

    Thank you for this entertaining and breathtaking true story and your observations and remarks and for the well demonstrating photos, dear RALPH.

  5. Dear Ralph!
    The bigger the toy is the better…
    At first the big roll was quite a challenge and a bit frightening for Hertha. Fortunately Tonja taught her to combat anxiety and to have fun with it.
    I had a good laugh about the bears who both tried to bite into the roll. ” Large flap”…

    It must have been a pure pleasure for you to watch this sporty and adventurous mother/daughter team.


  6. Dear Ralph!
    It is a wonderful story about Tonja and the roll. This roll is a proper toy for the polar bears.

  7. Thank you very much dear Ralph.
    Best wishes to Tonja and Hertha.

  8. Dear Ralph

    Many thanks for the wonderful pictures from Bärlin.
    The big roll looks great and brings a lot of fun for young and old.
    It is nice to see that both are doing well and that they always have new occupation material.

    Warm greetings,

  9. Dear Ralph, I can only agree with what was written before. Tonya showed her little girl what and how to manage this big toy. And you made great pics of this all. Polar bear mothers learning their cubs about hunting skills is a never-ending and never-boring story.

  10. Lieber Ralph,

    die Walze war lange Zeit das Lieblings-Spielzeug der beiden Bären, bis es aus dem Wasser geholt wurde.
    Ich FrĂĽhjahr werden sie die Walze wiederbekommen.
    Du hast wunderbare Momente eingefangen.

    Liebe GrĂĽĂźe

  11. Lieber Ralph,
    die große Rolle ist auch für Tonja eine Herausforderung und so sollte Eisbärenspielzeug sein.
    Hertha ist noch zu klein aber sie lernt beim Zuschauen.
    Vielen Dank, für schöne Momente der beiden Bären.
    Liebe GrĂĽĂźe Moni K