Tierpark Animal News
Hi! My friends call me Fritz
At last, the baby polar bear at Tierpark Berlin has a name – Fritz! Thousands of animal lovers from all over Germany as well as from South Africa, Japan and New Zealand contributed to the search for a name, with more than 10,000 suggestions ranging from Alex all the way to Zille.
Over the past week, local newspapers Berliner Zeitung and Berliner Kurier and radio station radioBERLIN presented the most frequently proposed names to their readers and listeners, asking them to vote for their favourite. On 31 January, the appointed jury received a shortlist of the 40 most popular names. The seven-person jury was made up of a Berliner Zeitung reader, a Berliner Kurier reader, a radioBERLIN listener, a team of radioBERLIN presenters (sharing one vote), the managing director of regional media company rbb media, plus the Tierpark’s director Dr Andreas Knieriem and polar bear curator Dr Florian Sicks. The latter two members also represented the interests of the keepers responsible for the young bear.
At 5 p.m. the jury’s intense discussions finally came to an end and they announced their decision: the little white bear is going to be known as Fritz! The typical German name has historical relevance for Berlin and associations with the Tierpark’s location in the district of Friedrichsfelde (“Fritz” is short for the traditional name “Friedrich”). Director Knieriem is pleased about the decision: “I am very happy with the name. It is short and snappy, and easy for visitors from abroad to remember.”
Fritz’s mother Tonja (now aged seven) gave birth to her first offspring at Tierpark Berlin on 3 November 2016. Fritz is the first baby polar bear at Tierpark Berlin in 22 years. His father is five-year-old Wolodja.
The young mother and her son are currently not on show to the public. Just like in the wild, the polar bear mother will not leave the birthing den with her young until the spring.