Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven

Things Are Going Swimmingly for Polar Bear Cub


Lili the Polar Bear cub was born December 11, 2015 at Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven, Germany. Mom, Valeska (age 11), father, Lloyd (age 15), and the whole Zoo have been very happy about this second healthy little bear in two years.

(Lili´s sister Lale was born on December 16, 2013 and lives now in the Wildlife Adventure Zoo in Emmen, Netherlands.)



4_12901248_1018519488183504_79784850217026468_oPhoto Credits: Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven



The new cub and her mother have been on-exhibit for a little more than a month. In the mornings, Lili plays extensively with Mom, and the two recently began swim lessons.

Recently, Lili impressed Keepers with her sudden preference for water sports. Mama took a dive into the water, and Lili went automatically afterwards.

Lessons continued for several weeks, and in the late afternoon of May 10, Keepers excitedly reported: “Lili swims!”

Now the young bear joyfully falls into the water…and doesn’t want to get out! Another step in the development of the small female Polar Bear is done.

Polar Bears are native to the circumpolar north, including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals.

Populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 Polar Bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues, two-thirds of the Polar Bear population could disappear by the year 2050. They are currently classified as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List.




Quick Vet Visit for Zoo Am Meer's Little Polar Bear

Folie2How fast can a veterinary team perform a physical exam on a baby Polar Bear?  At Germany’s Zoo am Meer, it took only four minutes for the staff to examine, vaccinate, determine gender, and weigh a cub and return the baby to her anxious mother.


Folie3Photo Credit:  Zoo Am Meer

The female cub was born on December 16 to first-time mom Valeska, age 9, and father Lloyd, age 13.  Since then, the cub has remained in the den with Valeska, who has proven to be an excellent mother to her cub. 

Zoo staff members describe the cub as playful and energetic.  At her exam, the cub weighed 18 pounds (8.5 kg), and has a lot of growing to do – adult female Polar Bears weigh 400-700 pounds (180-370 kg).  She’ll remain behind the scenes with Valeska until late in April or May.  At that time, she’ll learn how to swim and explore the outdoors.

Polar Bear populations are imperiled by climate change.  Polar Bears require sea ice as a place to stand while searching for passing seals to hunt.  Many Polar Bears are malnourished because their hunting season – which occurs in winter when the sea is filled with ice – becomes shorter every year, preventing them from building fat reserves to survive through the summer, when hunting is not possible.

See more photos of the cub below.

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Five Baby Red Squirrels Come out to Play at Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven

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Germany's Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven announced the arrival of its first Siberian Red Squirrel offspring. The five healthy youngsters were born seven weeks ago and are now old enough to begin exploring their habitat. This Siberian subspecies (Sciurus vulgaris exalbidus) is rarely kept in European zoos, so getting a chance to see these rambunctious and playful little red babies is a treat for zoo visitors.

Red Squirrels of all kinds are found across most of Europe, into northern Asia and Siberia. In the last 60 years, there has been a dramatic decline of the native Red Squirrel due to loss of habitat, disease, and, in particular, competition from its larger cousin, the American Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). The Grey Squirrel debarks mature native trees, which results in the trees dying. They can also eat and digest the fruit and flowering parts of plants while they are still green in the spring, whereas the Red Squirrel cannot, thus going hungry in the late summer and autumn with no stock left on the trees or plants to ripen. Also, the Grey Squirrel carries the Squirrel Pox Virus without being affected by it, but the virus can be passed onto Red Squirrels with devastating results. So these zoo-born babies are very important to preserving the species.

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Photo Credit: Joachim Schoene / Archive Zoo am Meer

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Great Gannets! Three Healthy Chicks Hatch at Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven

Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven Germany Northern Gannet 2013-3

Three healthy Northern Gannet chicks hatched at Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven on the Northern coast of Germany, on May 21 and on June 5 and 18. In the early 1980s, Zoo am Meer was the first zoo to successfully breed Northern Gannets in captivity. Up until today, Bremerhaven has remained one of very few European zoos to have successful hatchings of Northern Gannet chicks almost every year.

Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven Germany Northern Gannet 2013-1

Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven Germany Northern Gannet 2013-2

Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven Germany Northern Gannet 2013-4
Photo credits: Joachim Schoene / Zoo Am Meer Bremerhaven

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the bird is listed as a species of Least Concern. Found along both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Northern Gannets are a common bird with an uncommon ability: with an adult wingspan measuring nearly six feet (175 cm), these marine birds catch shoaling fish by nose-diving from heights of up to 130 feet (40 m). In the wild they are colonial, making nests of grasses and seaweed on coastal ledges and hilltops. Colonies breed in northern France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, and the eastern tip of Quebec. Pairs produce a single egg in the month of May, which is brooded with the feet for about 45 days. After five years, young Northern Gannets develop the elegant white and black plumage of mature adults.