Montag, 25. Januar 2010

Already in September: Polands only polar bear Tuya died

This is Tuya, Poland's only polar bear until end of September 2009. Tuya, also known as Snow White as called so by her keepers, died on Thursday, 24 September of liver cancer at the age of 31.

She had been living for many years at Wroclaw Zoo (which was Breslau long ago). She came to Wroclaw from Upper Silesia 30 years ago with her brother Icicles. The polar bear siblings were born in the family of Hansel and Gretel in Chorzow Zoo in 1978, which was then quite a sensation. They were the first polar bears born born in the country - said Dr Miroslaw Piasecki of Wroclaw Garden.

Not a stamp of Wroclaw but from Poland anyway

Since then, Poland has failed to reproduce polar bears.

Tuya died at the age of 31, which means that she lived to a ripe old age, and as Polish zoos deem their conditions as unsuitable for polar bears, Tuya will probably remain in the country's memory as the last "Polish polar teddy bear".

In September, Tuya was supposed to go to Hanover, where a new polar enclosure is getting built. It is here where Olinka's twins from Vienna will be living. I was afraid, however, that Tuya would not survive until then", said Radosław Ratajszczak, director of the Wroclaw Zoo.

Tuya had cancer of the liver with numerous metastases. Liver cancer was also the cause of death for Hope from St.Louis and Olaf, the father of Klondike & Snow from Denver. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything so far about Tuya's brother Icicles and her parents. And here some general information about Wroclaw Zoo:

"The City Zoological Garden in Wroclaw was originally established in 1865, which makes it the oldest zoo in Poland (a slightly ironic boast, since in 1865 Wroclaw was the German town of Breslau!). As well as being the oldest, The Wroclaw Zoological Garden has the largest collection of animals in Poland, with almost 7,000 in number from 600 different species, in an area covering 33 hectares.

Like most institutions in Wroclaw, the zoo has a troubled history. In 1921, following the economic crisis in Germany, it was forced to shut down. It was reopened in 1927 and enjoyed a healthy period of growth, however the events of World War II saw much of the zoo destroyed and many of the animals were killed or lost. After the war, with Wroclaw returning to Polish hands, the resurgence of Wroclaw University and its vested interest in the natural sciences paved the way for the zoo to be reopened in 1948 – albeit with just 150 animals of 60 different species. Great support for the zoo amongst the townspeople ensured that the garden quickly grew in stature, overcoming a number more setbacks, so that by the end of the 50s it had expanded to its current size.

More about bears in all Polish zoos you can find on an interesting site called bearproject.

And in a very informative article about the future of zoos in the Financial Times last year, " What are zoos for?", you will find more about the views of Wroclaw Zoo's director, Radoslav Ratajszczak, who "claims to have visited 407 zoos since he was a child", and who "was the first person from communist eastern Europe to attend a zookeeper’s training course in the west", which certainly had an impact on the zoo's recent development. It is a long article, so take some time, it's worthwhile!

More about bears in all Polish zoos you can find on another interesting site called bearproject.

Sources and photo credits: Zoo Wroclaw, Original article from 27.09.2009/pol., Gazeta/25.09.2009, English google translated version, Gazeta Wyborcza/25.09.2009


Diane hat gesagt…

Polar Bears International lists a female polar bear living here:
Slaski Ogrpd Zool Katoqice-Charzow
Kat-Charzow, Kat., Poland

Simba hat gesagt…

Hi Diane,

I already checked on the zoo in Charzow, there are no more polar bears there, I have found one photo of two polar bear cubs which might have been Tuya and her brother. I am still trying to find out more.

The information about Tuya to be the last polar bear in a Polish zoo was published on several blogs and one newspaper article as linked in the text. So I think this is correct. More when I know more.

Thanks for your information anyway.

Have a nice day


Marga hat gesagt…

Hallo Birgit,danke für die Infos-hab mir das Video auf der "Bärenseite " angeschaut-scarry!!Hoffentlich ändert sich auch dort in Polen recht bald etwas zum Besseren für die Bären-mache Gehege sind ja echt gruselig.

Gruß Marga