In loving memory – Imaq stole our hearts!

9.3.2023 by Mervi and Vesa

To honour the memory of sweet Imaq I republish our report from our visit in the Copenhagen Zoo in May 2019. I cherish the memories of an adorable polar bear girl who had to leave us far too soon.


When we heard that a polar bear baby was born in Copenhagen we immediately started planning a visit there. Vesa’s passport expired in February but we decided to wait renewing it until Lynn’s baby was on exhibit. Due to some health problems we had to cancel our plans several times.

However, on the 21st of May we finally felt ”fit’ for a visit! After Vesa had renewed his passport at the Finnish Embassy we took the bus to the zoo.

When we arrived we walked straight to the old polar bears’ enclosure where Lynn and Imaq are staying for the time being. The commented feeding was almost over but there was still a big crowd watching and listening.


Heads and shoulders were blocking the wiew so it was difficult to take any photos – especially for a shortie like me! The first sight of Lynn and Imaq was when they were enjoying a fish lunch.


Where there’s fish there are gulls! 🙂 Imaq noticed the uninvited flying guests and started to play ‘catch me if you can’ with the them. Since the birds can fly they have a great advantage in this game …..


….. and soon Imaq gave up.

The gulls are boring play mates anyway. Yikes!!


Then something else caught Imaq’s attention. There was a reflection of the big polar bear statue in the water. (You can see it in the first photo). She watched it quite a while wondering if there was a new inhabitant in the enclosure.


I don’t know why Lynn suddenly ran to this closed door and banged it. Of course, Imaq followed and together they tried to make the door open. I don’t know where this door leads – maybe to the new enclosure …


Because the door didn’t open Imaq started to ‘patrol’ the enclosure. I’ve been afraid she would hurt herself in this enclosure but she seems to know every inch of it now and has learnt to avoid the most dangerous spots. Of course, mama Lynn has been supervising her exploring tours.


She walked, she ran, she jumped …. she certainly was on the move! Just like Hertha in Berlin. Tonja and Lynn sure have their paws full raising their extremely mobile kids! Frimas and Gerda can take it a bit easier because their twins play together and the mothers have the luxory of having some time for themselves, too.


Do I have to tell you that we immediately fell in love with this charming viking princess? She is so lovely and adorable! We have waited so long for a polar bear baby in Copenhagen and now the cute miracle is here!


Beautiful mama Lynn kept an eye on her daughter. Even though Imaq is very self confident and likes to play on her own Lynn is very observant all the time.


After the feeding the crowd disappeared. We decided to stay and wait for the bears to come out again …. and it didn’t took so much patience. After only a few minutes Lynn came out with something she had found in the den. It looked like a fruit but I couldn’t see what it was.


Of course, Imaq was quick as a lightning wanting to share the fruit. Actually she wanted to steal it. We heard a little growl from Lynn but, of course, the fearless viking princess won even this little battle. 🙂 Lynn let Imaq have her way.


Lynn seemed to say ‘what the heck, it’s only a fruit and my baby needs it more than I do’.


Playing with food is the privilege of all polar bear kids and even Imaq started to play with the pinched fruit. 🙂


After the light meal Lynn and Imaq took a walk – on different directions.


Even a Viking Princess gets tired and Imaq tried to find a good sleeping position on the rock. It’s such a pity there aren’t any soft spots in this enclosure. A nice mulch bed would make a big difference!


Many visitors passed by saying ‘there’s nothing to see’. Nothing to see? when they have this sweetie in front of their eyes!!


I could have watched the relaxed Imaq for hours if my back and legs hadn’t been ‘annoying’ me.


A sleeping polar bear cubbie is the sweetest thing in the world! This sight must be balm to everybody’s soul!



During our short visit we spent most of the time with Lynn and Imaq and didn’t make any zoo tour. We didn’t see Noël in the new enclosure either. Maybe she was to be seen in the Arctic Ring but we didn’t go there.

It’s heart breaking to compare the pandas’ enclosure with the one where Lynn has to raise her cubbie!


I hope Lynn and Imaq can soon move to the new enclosure …. This sweetie deserves better surroundings!


She is such a darling! One can’t but love her!


Sweet Imaq, I hope you can feel soft green grass under your paws at least in your dreams!


We would have loved to stay longer with Imaq and Lynn but our legs didn’t want to co-operate with us so it was time to leave the zoo. Before going through the exit we had a ‘smørrebrød’ in restaurant ‘Folk’. It was good but very expensive – 15 euros for a sandwich!!

We are both very glad we could finally see Imaq with our own eyes and hope we can visit her soon again! Hopefully we’ll see them in the cosier new enclosure!


  1. Dear Mervi!
    Imaq was a sweet and adorable polar bear cub and I can so relate to your delight and excitement. I would have liked her to have some grass under her paws and a soft mulch bed on the enclosure too. It is heartbreaking and beyond sad that she had to die so early.
    By the way, like Knut, she only reached the age of four years. I hope that this terrible accident will lead to something like this never happening again in a zoo.
    Thank you for these bittersweet memories!


  2. Mervi Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Imaq..I was fortunate to spend two days in March and again in June 2019 watching Imaq and Lynn.. Sad beyond measure.

  3. Dear Mervi

    Thank you so much for your memories of the gorgeous Imaq. She was so enchanting and anyone who didn’t fall in love with her wasn’t really looking.
    It is so sad that Imaq had to die so young.


  4. Dear Mervi,

    Your memories of Imaq are so beautiful and now after her tragic death all the more bittersweet.
    How sweet the little one is and yet so nimble and brave. I can only underline your regret about this stony enclosure. I don’t understand the concept of Copenhagen Zoo anyway, even in other areas.

    Hopefully the zoo management will at least learn something from this tragic and avoidable accident, because the fact that Imaq was able to open a gate latch is already a big safety gap that no zoo can afford!

    Thank you so much for taking us back to the wonderful times with your visit to Imaq!

    Sad greetings

    Liebe Mervi,

    deine Erinnerungen an Imaq sind so schön und nun nach ihrem tragischen Tod umso bittersüßer.
    Wie herzig die Kleine ist und doch so flink und mutig. Dein Bedauern über dieses steinige Gehege kann ich nur unterstreichen. Ich verstehe das Konzept des Copenhagener Zoos sowieso nicht, auch in anderen Bereichen.

    Hoffentlich lernt die Zooleitung wenigstens etwas aus diesem tragischen und vermeidbaren Unfall, denn das Imaq einen Torverschluss öffnen konnte, ist schon eine große Sicherheitslücke, die sich kein Zoo erlauben kann!

    Vielen Dank, dass du uns nochmal in die wunderschöne Zeit mit eurem Besuch bei Imaq geführt hast!

    Traurige Grüße

  5. Es ist so traurig, die Kleine war so suess und ein ecgtes “Springkinkerl”, es ist schlimm, dass so ein Unfall passieren konnte. Danke für die liebe Erinnerung.

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