Zoo Tier-News

The simple bear necessities

Zoo Berlin’s little sloth bear is called Balou!

The bees are buzzing in the trees, and if you look under the rocks and plants you might just find some fancy ants – and probably some worms, too. Much like his famous forebear from the Jungle Book, our sloth bear cub seems to be forgetting about his worries and his strife. He is clearly enjoying the spring sunshine as he lollops happily after mama Kaveri (eight), sniffing at the air with his adorable little snout and searching for tasty treats.

The little bear at Zoo Berlin finally has a name! Balou was the clear winner, gaining two thirds of the 25.000 votes submitted via the social media channels of Zoo Berlin and utility company Berliner Stadtwerken over the past week.

“Sloth bears are only found on the Indian subcontinent and are listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),” explains Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. “The Hindi word ‘bhalu’ simply means bear. A Hindi name is a nice reference to the bears’ country of origin and ties in well with the names of the cub’s Indian parents Kaveri and Rajath.”

Balou can now be seen frolicking around the bears’ outdoor area. However, mother and cub still have the option to retreat to the privacy of their den, and therefore might not be visible all the time. Alongside the new arrival and his parents Rajath (six) and Kaveri (eight), two other sloth bears live at Zoo Berlin – female bear Sutra (20) and her son Jürgen (14).

Some 40 percent of the mammal species living at Zoo Berlin appear on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Through its breeding programmes and reintroduction projects, Zoo Berlin plays an important role in international nature and species conservation efforts. Andreas Irmer, managing director of Berliner Stadtwerke, said “We hope that our sponsorship helps Zoo Berlin achieve its conservation objectives. Species conservation and environmental protection go hand in hand, and are something we care very much about. That is why we want Berlin to be a climate-neutral city by 2050. In order to achieve this goal, the Berliner Stadtwerke is focusing, for example, on generating electricity from renewable energy sources.”


Berliner Stadtwerke became the sponsor of baby sloth bear Balou in March 2017. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berliner Wasserbetriebe and invests in solar power, wind energy and combined heat and power facilities for the decentralised generation of renewable energy. Berliner Stadtwerke’s green electricity berlinStrom is available to all Berlin households. For more information visit www.berlinerstadtwerke.de.