ZOOM Gelsenkirchen in December 2019: ANTONIA

Feb 29th, 2020 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

29.2.2020  by Ralph Morton


I was able to spend two days in ZOOM Gelsenkirchen during my visit to Germany in early December 2019. As usual most of my time was spent in the Alaska section with the Polar Bears. My first stop is always with the oldest and most distinguished Polar Bear in ZOOM, Antonia.

Read more of Antonia in UlliJ’s website

Antonia has just celebrated her thirtieth birthday. You can read more about her here thanks to Ludmila


Antonia’s enclosure has a range of surfaces and objects, as well as plenty of foliage for her to garden.


Antonia has quite a big enclosure so that sometimes she is a bit too far for my phone camera, but I had to use this one, as it shows her doing what she usually does first thing, wait for food or treats and if none appear, bang the door with a paw!


At the back of the enclosure are a pair of doors. Antonia often waits there hoping they will open and food will appear. She also likes to use the corner to rub her back.



There is always something new when I visit Polar Bears. I was delighted to be able to capture Antonia doing her Polar Bear rubbing and cleaning routine.


After examining her corner and considering whether to do some gardening, Antonia decides that a nap is a good idea.



The edge of the water is one of Antonia’s favourite places. She is often seen walking back and fro along it, or waiting as here. This position is so like the one Polar Bears adopt waiting next to a seal hole. Antonia can wait patiently for a long time.





Despite her advanced years Antonia is alert and interested in what is going on around her.

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  1. Dear Ralph!
    A little bear who everybody just have to love.
    You took beautiful and vivid photos of her.
    Antonia may not be as kind and nice as she looks, but she is such a lovely bear and a touching sight.
    Besides she is the sister of our beloved Katjuscha.
    I wish her all the best and a long and happy life further on.


  2. Lieber Ralph,
    man muß sie einfach lieben diese kleine Bärin und man sieht ihr ihr Alter überhaupt nicht an.
    Die Alaskawelt in Gelsenkirchen ist schon sehr sehenswert, ein toller Zoo.
    Danke Dir für Deinen schönen Bericht.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

    You always were my
    favourite bear. Now
    you are an old lady.
    I hope, you will live
    long and healthy !

  4. Thanks for the lovely pics of Antonia. She is unique in all the polar bear world, and so loved.


  5. Lieber Ralph,

    schön, dass Du die kleine Antonia wieder besucht hast.
    Ich war leider noch nie in Gelsenkirchen. Man kann sich anhand von Fotos nicht wirklich vorstellen, wie klein die Süße ist.
    Jedenfalls ist sie eine schöne Lady. Das liegt wohl in der Familie. Auch was das Alter betrifft. Ihre große Schwester Katjuscha ist ja auch schon ein “altes Mädchen”.

    Ich wünsche Antonia dass sie gesund bleibt, und noch einige schöne Jahre im Zoo haben wird.

    Liebe Grüße

  6. Dear Ralph,
    thank you for the pictures of Antonia. It is great to see her agile. I hope she will stay healthy for a long time.

  7. Lieber Ralph!

    Schoen dass Du immer wieder Antonia besuchst. Sie ist so lieb und einzigartig und im ZOOM hat sie ein wunderschoenes Refugium gefunden.
    Ueberhaupt ist das ein ganz grossartiger Zoo und immer einen Besuch wert.

    Liebe Gruesse, Erika

  8. dear Ralph,
    thank you so much for your report and for all the wonderful pictures from Gelsenkirchen.
    Antonia always looks like a sweet little bear. I am glad Antonia has a good home and can enjoy her life and meet special good friends like you.
    dear greetings