Do you remember Knut? This was not simply a German phenomenon. He became news around the world. Born in late 2006, Knut brought record numbers of visitors flocking to an already popular zoo. The story was compelling, because he was rejected by his mother and raised primarily by his handler Thomas Dörflein, who sadly died unexpectedly in 2008. Oh, and because he was an adorable little polar bear.
The Zoologischer Garten is located in the Tierpark neighbourhood of what was formerly West Berlin, and you might recognise the nearby S-Bahn Station (Zoo Station) from the title of a U2 song on Achtung Baby. It might be a bit confusing with the name Tierpark if you go to reunified Berlin today, because it’s not only where the Zoologischer Garten is, but the name of the still vibrant Tierpark in former East Berlin. I haven’t been there yet, but I’m certainly curious and willing to visit.
Back to the matter at hand. If you want to know interesting data about this zoo, a good start is the Wikipedia page here. It’s truly a remarkable place. Let me just say that I’m normally pretty hesitant to even go to zoos. They feel like animal prisons to me. I know zoologists are some of the most committed animal lovers, and I respect that they do more for animal conservation than I ever will. Nevertheless, there’s always a pang of regret when I set foot in a zoo. Enough of that…let’s get on to the animals.
Walked by the enclosure where Knut used to live (he sadly collapsed last year and shockingly died). Though there were two grown polar bears sunning themselves on a rock, it seemed somehow empty without little Knut. Please don’t tell those remaining polar bears I said so.
Oh, and I’ve included both a You Tube video I made of the the, as yet, unheralded Moon Jellyfish and the obligatory shot of your sometimes humble blogger. Enjoy…