Visit to Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) Doncaster in December

Dec 26th, 2017 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

26.12.2017 by Ralph

After the run of bad weather in England last week I did not think I would be able to fit in a final visit to the YWP this year. I was lucky that on Friday 15 December the weather had broken for a few days. I got up early, wrapped up warm in a couple of coats, and caught the train north.

I arrived at the Project Polar enclosure soon after 11. The first bear I met was Nobby. He was on his own in the large enclosure and as usual patrolling the perimeter. This enabled me to get a few photos of him and call out to him.

 photo Nobby walk.jpg

 photo Nobby look.jpg

Nobby looked round to see who was calling, and then carried on with his rounds.

I arrived at the main Polar Bear quarters and tunnels between the three enclosures. I was lucky enough to be able to chat to a student who was studying Victor’s behaviour in YWP and comparing it with his condition when he arrived from the Netherlands. The bear himself was in the tunnel below us and had decided to adopt his “cunning plan” which was to rest comfortably blocking the crossroads in the tunnels and hope to catch out Nissan or Nobby. Nissan was fast asleep behind “Terminal 5” as I now call the house and tunnels. Pixel was in the furthest corner of the new third enclosure.

 photo T5 walkway.jpg

I tried to take some pictures of Victor in the tunnel, but they did not come out. However, a bit later on I was able to get this shot of Pixel.

 photo T5 Pixel.jpg

Victor was not very keen on the cold weather and decided to leave the enclosures to the other bears, but at one point he did emerge on to the new enclosure to check them out.

 photo Victor emerges.jpg

 photo Victor head.jpg

He is a very impressive and adorable Teddy. But he does not like the cold weather and soon returned to the relative comfort and warmth of his den.

Nissan was so wrapped up in his thoughts that the first time he tried to come through the tunnel, he had forgotten about the risk of Victor. He quickly reversed and came out again before Victor could react. Nissan is a lovely character and likes to come close to the wire when there are people around.

 photo Nissan happy.jpg

He looks just like one of my plush Polars resting on top of a bed or a couch. The male Polars always love this “Troll” pose.

 photo Nissan sprawl.jpg

Nissan is such a friendly bear that he reacts to hearing his name.

In the afternoon the three young bears came together on the new third enclosure. It was great to see Nobby joining the “brat pack”.

 photo Trio discussion.jpg

The relative sizes of Nissan, Nobby (chocolate bear) and Pixel can be seen in these photos.

 photo Trio Nobby sniff.jpg

Nobby soon showed how relaxed he was, and also how like his mother, Giovanna, by playfighting with Pixel.

 photo Trio Nobby lunge.jpg

 photo Trio Nobby wrestle.jpg

Pixel takes his role as friend to everyone from Victor to Nobby very seriously. Soon he and Nobby were playfighting alone.

 photo Nobby Pixel sniff.jpg

 photo Nobby Pixel dance.jpg

 photo Nobby pixel lunge.jpg

 photo Nobby Pixel high dance.jpg

Nobby is no longer the shy outsider but a confident Polar like his Mum. Pixel seemed content to let Nobby have the upper paw.

 photo Nobby Pixel sniff.jpg

 photo Nobby Pixel kiss.jpg

The energetic sniffing, huffing and tasting between the boys will be good practice for making friends with a female Polar Bear when the time comes. The affectionate and curious nature of these bears is clear.

 photo Nobby Pixel sunshine.jpg

 photo Nobby Pixel together.jpg

Pixel also spent some time with Nissan, with whom he is still very friendly.

 photo Pixel Nissan follow.jpg

 photo Pixel Nissan.jpg

But Nobby and Pixel were the main bears in action. They seemed to really enjoy each other’s company.

 photo Pixel Nobby sniff.jpg

 photo Pixel Nobby friends.jpg

 photo Pixel Nobby wrestle.jpg

 photo Pixel Nobby cuddle.jpg

The playfighting always ends in a very ritualised session of sniffing and making friends. Respect is a crucial factor of Polar Bear life.

Nobby still found time to come to the wire and show what a cute bear he is.

 photo Nobby close up.jpg

 photo Nobby hello.jpg

Nobby of course also loves cannisters and in the new enclosure there was one ready for him and Nissan to play with.

 photo Nobby cannister.jpg

Unfortunately they were too far away to photograph successfully but this shot of Pixel watching them in the water sums up the spirit of the day.

 photo Trio end of day.jpg

Fortunately there are several excellent photographers who visit the YWP regularly and post their photos here.

If you are on Facebook it is well worth becoming a friend of YWP.

Project Polar was designed to help the Polar Bear Registry in the Netherlands provide a refuge for male Polar Bears. Victor will remain at YWP as he is now “retired” after many years fathering cubs.

It is unclear when and how Pixel, Nobby and Nissan will leave for other Zoos. YWP has a close working relationship with the Registry and individual Zoos. There is now space for additional bears, but there have been fewer male cubs in recent years. Bears from Eastern Europe and Russia would certainly benefit from the excellent facilities at Doncaster.

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  1. Dear Ralph,

    I think we can excuse Victor for not being out so much. He’s the olderst of the boys and prefers a warm place to the chillier outdoor life.

    Nissan seems to be a very kind bear. I love his Troll pose! 🙂 Doesn’t it feel great when he ‘answers’ when you call his name!

    It’s really wonderful to see the ‘brat pack’ trio together. We always claim ‘a dirty bear is a happy bear’ so Nobby must be very happy with friends. 🙂

    Nobby and Pixel have become real ‘bussom friends’. I’m so glad for all the bears. They seem to lead a happy life in Doncaster.

    YWP is a fantastic bachelor bears’ paradise. Hmm, I guess the members of the ‘brat pack’ are a bit too young for Venus. Otherwise there’s a ‘vacancy’ in Ranua ….

    Thank you so much for this very informative and entertaining report!

    Hugs from Mervi

  2. Lieber Ralph,

    vielen Dank für die schönen Meldungen aus dem WildlifePark.
    Es ist super, dass Nobby und Pixel nun auch miteinander spielen. Bär kann nie genug Freunde haben.

    Übrigens ist es Nobby von Hellabrunn schon gewohnt, der SchokoBär zu sein 🙂

    Es freut mich zu lesen, es geht allen Bären gut.
    Danke für die netten Bilder und die viele Informationen.

    Liebe Grüße

  3. Dear Ralph,

    A delightful report!

    Thanks for bringing us along!

    xo k-j

  4. Lieber Ralph

    Du schickst uns tolle Fotos der Jungsbande.
    Nobby scheint jetzt voll integriert zu sein.
    Victor ist ein beeindruckender Bär. 🙂

    Herzliche Grüße
    Chris 🙂

  5. Dear Ralph!
    Merry Christmas!
    Thank you for this entertaining and informative report from the Yorkshire Wildlife Park!
    I´m happy for you that you could carry out your plan to visit the bears before 2017 ends.

    Fortunately the sun was shining and you could enjoy the sight of good tempered and playful bears – at least of three of them .
    I find it quite understandable that Victor prefered the cosy warmth of his den, since he is an old gentleman and already a grandfather now.

    It is wonderful that Nobby, Pixel and Nissan are friends now and play with each other. It´s a relief that Nobby is no longer a shy and anxious outsider and fully integrated. I had to laugh about his camouflage look.


  6. Lieber Ralph,

    deinen Bericht habe ich mit großer Freude gelesen, denn die vielen Details zeigen deine
    gute Beobachtungsgabe. Bei Kathi bist einfach der große Fan, aber bei die Boys in YWP
    beobachtest du sehr genau die Entwicklungsschritte.
    Dass Nobby nun offensichtlich in der Boy Group angekommen ist, erfüllt mich mit
    großer Freude. Über den zukünftigen Verbleib der Jungs brauchen wir uns wohl noch
    keine Gedanken zu machen, aber MERVI, deine Idee, dass in Orsa ein Platz frei wäre,
    ist ein schöner Gedanke. Doncaster ist zweifelsohne ein Bärenparadies, aber Orsa wäre ein
    Schneeparadies für einen der Jungs.

    Vielen Dank für deinen ausführlichen und bebilderten Bericht!
    Herzliche Grüße

  7. Dear Ralph,
    thank you for the report from YWP. It is nice to see that 3 young bears play together. Victor is an impressive big bear.

  8. Lieber Ralph,
    vielen Dank für den ausführlichen Bericht vom YWP. Das sind ja sehr gute Nachrichten. Die Bären spielen intensiv miteinander, was will Mensch mehr!
    Hoffentlich hattest Du schöne Weihnachtsfeiertage. Machs gut!
    Liebe Grüße von Annemarie

  9. HAppy to get t know by your interesting report that NOBBY seems to feel quite well and that the three young bears have got friends, play-fighting and having fun with each other and with barrels 😉

    I also like YOUR photos which are well enough together with your written observations.

    Especially I like the pics of the three youngsters all together – they look as if they had a real ‘Kriegsrat’ 😉

    Thank you very much, dear RALPH

  10. dear Ralph,
    I am glad you could make this wonderful journey to the Yorkshire Wildlife park and the weather was not too bad.
    Ii is so nice to see all the 4 bears and Nobby enjoyed his playfighting this time with Pixel and he came close to you for a friendly hello. I send good wishes to the 4 dear polar bears .
    Thank you for your report and for all the pictures
    dear greetings to England
    I like the brat pack, many years ago there was another ….pack, on Christmas I saw on ARTE a report about Frank Sinatra.

  11. Dear Ralph, it is always good to see updates of these youngsters. They have found their own way to manner this and that in daily life. And one thing is for sure: I love their enclosures.