ZOOM Gelsenkirchen: Underwater Stars: Bill

Mar 10th, 2020 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

10.3.2020 by Ralph Morton


The Polar Bears and Sealions have viewing glass windows at ZOOM Gelsenkirchen. Sadly, unlike Copenhagen, only the Sealions in ZOOM have a glass covered tunnel. Bill, the male Polar Bear spends a lot of time power swimming to take his mind off Lara!


I was lucky in December to get some shots of him near the big glass window in the corner of his pool.


I am not sure whether the remnants of Bill’s prey are left on purpose, but they do remind visitors that he is a predator.


It would be hard to be able to get such underwater shots in the wild without a lot of expensive equipment. And as Polar Bears are happy to break things, it is easier to do it this way.



Bill powering along underwater is an impressive sight.


On land Bill also makes an impressive sight. Although he has a lot of different terrain to explore and things to do, he seems, like all Polar Bears, even the boys in Doncaster, to like patrolling his boundaries or the water’s edge.


The Gelsenkirchen bears seem to have much thinner fur than other Polar Bears. I asked the Zoo Vet about this some years ago and she put it down to the milder wetter climate in that part of Germany.


Bill rather like Blizzard in Hamburg has long legs and likes to use them a lot.


His enclosure has a mixture of foliage and hilly ground. Bill likes to sleep in the hills where he cannot be seen.


In this photo you can see the area behind Bill. He spends a lot of his time there as the wall is thin enough for him to communicate by smell and sound with Lara. She will often go to her side with Nanook.


Bill is still young enough not to have the distinctive head shape of older male Polar Bears like Victor and Churchill.


I think Bill and Lara are looking forward to being together again. With two large enclosures this will be relatively easy, as Nanook can stay where she is while Lara moves across to Bill. ZOOM have made it clear that they want a home for Nanook at least as good as her present one.

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  1. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for another part of your report from the Gelsenkirchen Zoo!
    I´m happy for the polar bears that Lara and Bill can be reunited and there is no need to hurry to send Nanook away. I hope she will get a good new home when the time has come.

    Bill is a smart and handsome young male.
    With regular patrols he keeps everything under control.


  2. Bill ist ein Talentierter Taucher, macht
    aber auch an Land eine gute Figur. 🙂
    Danke für die feine Foto-Strecke !

  3. Dear Ralph,
    the enclosure in ZOOM is very good. You took very good pictures of Bill. He is a young and strong male. It looks like Lara is not ready to send Nanook away. Bill has to wait.

  4. Dear Ralph,

    You were lucky to see Bill so close when he was diving and swimming! Great photos!

    Bill has a nice enclosure where he can enjoy his daily walks along the ‘sea side’. 🙂 It’s great he has been able to stay in his home zoo and soon he will meet Lara again. Let’s hope Nanook will find a good new home and a nice companion.

    Thank you for the nice article!

    Hugs from Mervi

  5. How nice you dedicated a whole article to a male of a polar bear family who is separated from his ‘loved ones’ due to being a real danger for his offspring – unfortuntely! – not because he is a ‘bad boy’ but simply because it’s his nature. . . . Nature sometime is a bit strange . . .

    Bill looks great and it’s wonderful he knows very welll how to occupy himself.

    Your first pics showing BILL under water give an impression comparable to paintings.

    Thank you for this special report about a ZOOM-Gelsenkirchen-individual, dear RALPH.

    Thanks to you, dear MERVI, for the editorial work. I very much hope you will have overcome soon your cold/flu!

  6. Lieber Ralph,

    danke für die weiteren Bilder aus Gelsenkirchen, diesmal von Bill.

    Ob als Taucher oder an Land. Er sieht gut aus.
    Was sind denn das für schwarze Teilchen im Wasser?

    Liebe Grüße

  7. Lieber Ralph,
    bei meinem Besuch hat Bill immer nach Lara gerufen und war sehr unruhig, war in der Paarungszeit.
    Hoffen wir dass Nanook ein neues Zuhause bekommt und nicht einzeln im ZOOM gehalten werden muß.
    Vielen Dank, schöne Unterwasserbilder und liebe Grüße
    Moni K