Polar Bears International

Marga Gerritsen

Marga Gerritsen

Marga Gerritsen has worked at the Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands, for 26 years. She started at the Zoo through a apprentice system of animal care study in the carnivore section. Ater gratuation she got a fulltime job and training to become one of the marine mammal trainers. After 10 years she started to work at the Zoo with all kinds of animal species, and returned to the carnivore section.

Marga was one of the keepers who took care of the 5-month-old polar bear cub, Ferosha ( Huggies), found orphaned in 1994 on Wrangel Island, working with other members of the Zoo staff and with the polar bear, Karin, who became Ferosha's foster mother. Ferosha later she turned out to be a fantastic mother herself and gave birth to a number of cubs, even triplets.

Ferosha was sent to Sweden because of the EEP program and in November 2001 the Zoo got the message that she was pregnant. The Zoo decided to return Ferosha to the Netherlands after the cub was born, and Marga went to Kolmarden a week before the transport. On the 13th of March, the mother and cub arrived safely, the first transport ever done this way.

Marga was also a member of the international team of experts that responded to what has been described as the world’s  worst coastal bird disaster in history. In June 2000 the MV Treasure, sank off Cape Town, South Africa. The oil Spill from the wreck caused the world’s worst coastal bird crisis.