A prestigious international polar bear training event was held recently at the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
The inaugural 1st European Polar Bear Husbandry Training Workshop featured experts from around the globe who are committed to save the endangered species.
Delegates took part in presentations and practical workshops at the park’s Project Polar reserve, home to polar bears Victor, Pixel, Nissan and Nobby.
The summit ran across three days and was designed to promote best practice in polar bear welfare and to discuss conservation methods.
“It is an international effort but aimed at European zoos and EAZA members. We have polar bears keepers coming from Canada too so it has been picked up all over the world.” says Kim Wilkins, Carnivore Team Leader at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.”
“The aim is to bring polar bear keepers and managers together, facilitating the advancement of husbandry training to improve polar bear welfare and conservation research.”
During the three day event there were practical sessions with lions as well as the polar bears. Speakers included world famous animal behaviour consultant Chirag Patel, Oregon Zoo Animal Curator Amy Cutting as well as Marissa Krouse and Krista Wright from Polar Bears International.
Project Polar is at the centre of the global effort to save the species and the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation has raised more than £40,000 to support projects.
The park, at Branton, near Doncaster, recently won a prestigious gold award for establishing Project Polar, which includes dens, pools and rolling landscapes and is one of the biggest on earth.
The park works with international conservation agencies and academic institutions to study polar bears and increase their chances of survival as their natural Arctic habitats are reduced by global warming.
YWP, which puts conservation at the heart of all its activities, offers visitors a mesmerizing walk through experience – coming almost face to face with some of the world’s most beautiful and at risk species, including Amur Leopards and Tigers, Giraffes, Lions, Rhinos and many more.
It has over 400 animals and over 70 different species of animals. A wide range of different workshops and courses are offered by YWP.