Doncaster’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park to get England’s first polar bear

Victor the Polar Bear in his current home in Ouwehand Zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands. Picture by : FameFlynet UK
Victor the Polar Bear in his current home in Ouwehand Zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands. Picture by : FameFlynet UK

Yorkshire Wildlife Park is getting ready to welcome its latest and coolest creature yet.

Polar bear Victor is set to become the first resident in the Doncaster-based wildlife park’s purpose-built polar bear centre.

The 15-year-old polar bear is due to arrive at the park from his home at Rhenen Zoo in Holland next month, - and will be the only one in England.

Director John Minion said: “We will be delighted to welcome Victor to the park and be able to make a contribution to polar bear conservation. Polar bears are an iconic species that are increasingly threatened in their native habitat.

“We need to fight their cause.

“Their native sea ice is disappearing due to climate change but we still have a chance to do something about it.

“It is also vital that we understand how to care for these bears appropriately in captivity and provide for their needs.”

He added: “We are very excited at the prospect of having our first resident in the new reserve, which has been designed around the needs of the polar bear.

“The enclosure gives the bears the space they need to enjoy natural behaviour such as swimming, roaming and foraging in a physically varied and stimulating complex environment.”

The polar bear centre is one of the biggest in the world, spanning 10 acres.

It was designed in consultation with world experts so that it could become a centre for polar bear conservation.

Victor, who weighs an incredible 480 kilos, is coming to Yorkshire as he is no longer required for the breeding programme taking place at Rhenen Zoo.

When he arrives in Doncaster he will then be given time to settle in.

First he will live in the house out of the sight of the public and will spend time getting to know the rangers who will be caring for him.

Once he is used to his new surroundings, the polar bear centre, named Project Polar, will then be opened to visitors.

Victor’s arrival follows the launch of the Project Polar appeal last year to bring the world’s largest land carnivore to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

The park is also in the process of attempting to rescue another polar bear, named Yupi, who is trapped in soaring temperatures and a concrete enclosure in a Mexican zoo.