Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Adieu to Mother Susi, mom to the hybrid bears

Susi

Today, elderly European Brown Bear Susi, best known as mother of the famous hybrid twins Tips and Taps, has ended her journey.  At age 38, she was blind, and suffered from heart complications. In addition her mobility was greatly limited. 

Susi was greatly treasured by Zoo Osnabrück, where she arrived in 1980 as a cub, along with her sister Ossi. She lived there almost her entire life, sharing an enclosure with her sister, a male brown bear, and a pair of polar bears, Sonja and Elvis.  


The beautiful and very famous "chocolate bears," Tips and Taps, were rare hybrids between brown bear and polar bear. They were an "accident," but became a beloved pair for visitors to the zoo in Osnabrück, Germany.
The twins were also studied by scientists.
Sussi gave birth, surprise! in January of 2004 to hybrid bears, a cross between European brown bear and polar bear. Elvis was the father. The zoo had not thought that this was possible at the time. But there they were, silvery little cubs. It was a bit of a scandal at the time, but zoo visitors were enchanted by these beautiful little bears.

The sign posted outside Susi's enclosure in recent years

Translation of the German sign:

Why does the bear live in this back area?

Our old brown bear Susi was born was born in 1979 and is thus very important.

Because of this age, she is almost blind and only a little mobile.

She feels much safer in a restricted area and can always retire to the interior when she needs her rest.


Susi in her little home, designed for her security.


Tips and Taps were a great attraction at the zoo, and lived with silver foxes, who would share their meals. It was a great enrichment for the bears. Since the bears were part European Brown Bear and part polar bear, they shared behaviors and physical features of both. For example, polar bears do not hibernate, but Tips and Taps did.
Tips and Taps in happier days
                                Tips was so silvery and beautiful


The sign at Tips and Taps' enclosure, telling bout the Hybrid Bears.

Taps, the darker of the twins, plays with a ball.

Sadly, Tips escaped from her enclosure in spring of 2017 on a busy Sunday, and had to be shot.

Taps and Tips

Elvis, born in Memphis, Tennessee, was the father of the hybrid bear cubs.

The silver fox enclosure next to the hybrid bears,
 where Tips was able to escape.

Now Taps alone of the family survives.

Taps can still be visited at the Zoo Osnabrück

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