Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Churchill was a legend - larger than life

Churchill was an iconic bear, larger than life
We have lost yet another iconic polar bear this year. Now we must say goodbye to the gruff and grand Churchill, who ruled over Rostock Zoo most of his life. He would have been 34 years old in another month.

Und wieder haben wir eine Eisbärikone verloren,eine weitere in diesem Jahr.Wir nehmen Abschied vom grummeligen,großartigen Churchill, der die meiste Zeit seines Lebens im Zoo in Rostock verbracht hat. Ende nächsten Monats wäre Churchill 34 Jahre alt geworden.

Churchill peeks out into his enclosure

He liked his vegetables. Here is a carrot
He was born November 28, 1979 in Rostock, Germany. He lived in Kolmarden Sweden and Gelsenkirchen for a couple of years, but was back home in Rostock by 1982, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Geboren wurde er am 28.November 1979 in Rostock. Danach verbrachte er viele Jahre in Kolmarden, Schweden sowie in Gelsenkirchen in Deutschland. 1982 kam er dann zurück nach Rostock, wo er bis zu seinem Lebensende blieb.


Churchill was the father of Boris, the last remaining of the rescued Suarez Bros. Circus bears, who lives in the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma Washington.

Churchill war der Vater von Boris; der letzte der noch überlebenden Eisbären aus dem geretteten Suarez Bros.Circus in Mexico - und Boris lebt nun in Tacoma, Washington im Point Defiance Zoo.
Churchill was a bear with many fierce expressions

Churchill was also the father, with mother Vienna, of Victoria (1996) now in Aalborg Denmark, Viktor (1998) now in Rhennen, Vitus (2000) now in Karlsruhe, Vilma (2002) who has lived in Nuremburg, Tiergarten, Wuppertal Zoo, and now is back in Rostock; and the twins Venus and Valeska (2004).

Churchill war auch gemeinsam mit Vienna der Nachkomme von Victoria(1996) ,jetzt Aalborg Zoo in Dänemark,Viktor (1998) jetzt in Rhenen, NL; Vitus (2000) jetzt in Karlsruhe,Vilma (2002); die erst im Tiergarten Nürnberg, danach dann im Zoo Wuppertal gelebt hat,nun wieder nach Rostock zurück kommt. Außerdem gibt es noch die Zwillinseisbärinnen Venus und Valeska (2004).
Churchill relaxes in his retirement home at Rostock

He is the grandfather of the famous Milak, daughter of Victoria, of the Aalborg Zoo in Denmark, and also of Anori, daughter of Lars and Vilma, of Zoo Wuppertal. Vilma has just this week returned to Rostock, and daughter Anori has a new playmate, cousin Luka.

Er ist auch der Großvater von Milak, Victoria's Tochter aus dem Aalborg Zoo in DK, ebenso von Anori, Tochter von Lars und Vilma aus dem Zoo in Wuppertal.

Seven of Churchill's children are still living
Through his son Viktor, Churchill is the grandfather of Rocky, the triplets with Huggies: Ewa, Jelle and Henk; Sprinter (2007) with Freedom; Walker and the late and much missed little Swimmer (2008) with Huggies; Sesi and Siku (now named Taiko) with Freedom in 2010; and Luka and Lynn in 2011 with Huggies. Luka is now at Zoo Wuppertal with his cousin Anori.

Durch seinen Sohn Viktor ist Churchill der Großvater von Rocky, den Drillingen von Huggies: Ewa, Jelle (jetzt Yelle) und Henk; Sprinter (2007) mit Freedom; Walker und der leider gestorbene Swimmer (2008) mit Huggies, Sesi und Siku (jetzt Taiko) mit Freedom in 2010; ebenso Luka und Lynn mit Huggies. Luka ist nun im Zoo Wuppertal gemeinsam mit seiner Cousine Anori. 

Churchill lived alone for the past few years.
 Vienna and Lars live in the larger enclosure nearby. 

Churchill in the sand pile of the Mother-Cub Enclosure.
Sometimes he would dig. Mostly he would nap.

Churchill is also grandfather to Ranzo in 2011, through his daughter Venus in Ranua, Finland.

Churchill ist auch Großvater von Ranzo im Jahr 2011, durch seine Tochter Venus in Ranua, Finland.

Vienna was injured by Churchill several years ago.
 She still lives at Rostock Zoo, but away from Churchill.

Vienna is urged to stand and stretch the tendons
 in her injured leg as therapy

Churchill spent many years with Vienna in Rostock, but a few years ago, he became aggressive, and wounded Vienna terribly, biting her and taking a chunk out of her back leg. Churchill was judged to have been too rough to ever be with another bear, so he has spent his retirement years in the Mother-Cub enclosure at Rostock, basking in the sun on warm afternoons, and digging in the sand pit to make a soft bed.

Churchill war schon einige Jahre zusammen mit Vienna in Rostock, aber dann wurde er sehr aggressiv und verletzte Vienna sehr schwer er hat sie gebissen und ein Teil ihres Hinterbeines rausgerissen.Man beschloss, dass er nicht mehr mit anderen Bären gemeinsam verbringen kann, somit verbrachte er seinen Lebensabend in der Mutter/Kind Anlage im Zoo in Rostock, ließ sich in der Sonne aalen,in der Sandkuhle graben um sich dort ein weiches Bett zu machen.
Boris in the Sand pin, getting ready to take a nap

He had a reputation to be gruff, but he had a bold personality, and many fans. He leaves behind a generation of younger polar bears in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, France and the U.S.A.

Er hatte einen Ruf ruppig zu sein, aber er hatte einen kühnen Persönlichkeit, und viele Fans. Er hinterlässt eine Generation von jüngeren Eisbären in Deutschland, Schweden, Dänemark, Frankreich und den USA.

Churchill enjoying his afternoon nap on August 30, 2013,
the day of my visit to Rostock


  1. Thank you for this tribute to CHURCHILL with wonderfull photos and an addicted description of his personality, as well as his family connections (which I will never be able to keep in mind - I am sorry!). . . . I have to admit I didn't know too much of him, and always was in kind of a 'position of attention' when I saw a picture of him often with a grumpy/dangerous facial expression. But as you did describe him so near to tenderly, I do blow him a virtual kiss of "Bye-Bye" now :-)

  2. Dear Molly,

    This is a beautiful tribute to Churchill and also a very informative article! We will miss the old chap but our consolation is that the 'Big Daddy' is now beyond pain.

    I'd like to point out that Ranzo lives in Ranua in Finland - not in Sweden. Ewa lives in Orsa, Sweden.

    Bear hugs to you from Mervi