Visit to Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) Doncaster on Tuesday 5 June: Morning

Jun 24th, 2018 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

24.6.2018 by Ralph

With the very changeable weather that we are having at the moment, I decided on Monday that the weather on Tuesday was going to be as good as any day this month, so I bought a train ticket and turned up at Oxford Station in plenty of time on Tuesday morning. Remembering Victoria’s love of breakfast I found a suitable one to keep my fed until lunchtime.

The train to Doncaster arrived on time and the journey soon passed, though I was horrified to see this cover on the daily free magazine.

I even discussed with the rangers whether it was true that three lions could beat a Polar Bear. However, it turned out that the cover was a publicity stunt to help Polar Bears International and the bear involved was none other than Agee, the well known acting bear.

As if to underscore my belief that lionesses rather than lions were a bigger threat to a Polar Bear, these two chaps were waiting at the entrance to the YWP.

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Rescued from a zoo in Romania the lions are enjoying a very relaxed life. While lionesses even in zoos are constantly alert and looking for food, these chaps mainly laze and eat.

YWP – Lion country

I walked quickly, passing the wallabies who are a favourite with young visitors and the lemurs, who were hosting a crowd of very young children, so I passed them by too.

I would love to have seen the lemur baby, who is a star on the Fans of Yorkshire Wildlife Park Facebook site.

One of my favourite animals in the park are the South American warty pigs who have a large area to root around in.

My visit to Yorkshire Wildlife Park: Okapi

At lunchtime, Stephen King and I went for a bit of a walk and I took the opportunity to take some shots of one of the newest arrivals at YWP.

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Ruby, the female, was outside. Her head looks very much like a giraffe in this shot, but with those longer lovely ears.

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YWP always give you the conservation background to their animals and how they live in the wild. It would be nice to see similar signs with the Okapi in Berlin Zoo.

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Here is my shot of that distinctive pattern which works so well in the forest to disguise the Okapi.

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Of course the stars of the show are the Polar Bears of Project Polar!

As you may know this year the mating season has seen some quite spectacular changes to the bears and their relationships. This has been covered on the Facebook site by regular visitors like Stephen King. Victor the oldest bear at 19 has found that the young bears, Nobby and Nissan, both 4, have grown in size and confidence.

At first he had difficulty coping with this and was even frightened by them. Nissan has used this to take over the close relationship with Pixel that he already had but refusing to allow the other bears to come near Pixel. A lot of this has to do with adolescence and the absence of females as the hormones in the young bears kick in.

Fortunately the three enclosures allow the Rangers (as the keepers are called) to manage the bears. Victor was isolated from the others for a while. However, Nobby took advantage of the other three concentrating on their relationship to steal their food. Giovanna would be proud of her son. He has grown and is now bigger than Nissan.

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Initially Victor was wary of the third enclosure but he has now got very used to it and I was surprised to find him even swimming in the lake and playing with toys.

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Victor and Nobby now enjoy quite a good relationship and you can see in this shot, with Nobby in front how the size change has helped.

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I had to take these shots despite the distance just to show you that Nobby and Victor now even play in the water together. This is something that would have been unimaginable a few months ago.

Pixel and Nissan have always been close friends, but Nissan clearly now has an even stronger interest in him.

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Pixel was already a big bear but as these pictures show, Nissan is very similar now in size. Nissan really enjoys playing and Pixel is also happy to wrestle with him.

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This shot, I think is Pixel, and shows how the bears are maturing into adult looking Polar Bears.

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Pixel is a very attractive bear and has beautiful white fur. Perhaps this is why Victor and Nissan both cherish him.

Managing the bears is quite a challenging task, to say the least, and in the second part of the report, I will show how this is done at close quarters.

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  1. Dear Ralph,

    It looks like you had a pleasant journey to Doncaster and you even had an impressive welcoming committé – the lions! 🙂 I’m glad to hear they were rescued from a circus. I’m sure they are enjoying their life in luxory in YWP!

    You met a lot of lovely animals but, of course, the stars were – once again – the four leaf polar bear gcover.

    It was interesting to read how the rangers are dealing with the bears when they get too ‘excited’. I had a good laugh at Nobby stealing the other bears’ food when they were occupied with the ‘picking order. 🙂

    Thank you so much for this interesting and entertaining report!

    Hugs from Mervi

  2. Dear Ralph

    Thank you for the report from YWP.
    How nice, you could manage another
    visit. The bears look gorgeous. I like
    the Okapis, we also have them in Ffm.
    The male lions are impressive.


  3. Lieber Ralph,

    schön dass Du Dich spontan dazu entschlossen hast, nach Doncaster zu reisen.
    Ich finde es sehr schön, dass der YWP die beiden ehemaligen “Zirkus-Löwen” aufgenommen hat. Jetzt können sie ihr Leben richtig genießen ohne ständig Kunststücke machen zu müssen.

    Tja, von wem Nobby das wohl hat, das Essen der anderen Bären zu klauen? Ich glaube, dass hat er von Mama Giovanna gelernt. Aber Nobby scheint sich richtig wohlzufühlen, und das ist schön.

    Super, dass er gemeinsam mit Victor im Wasser gespielt hat.

    Da hast Du wieder einen tollen Tag in Doncester gehabt.

    Liebe Grüße

  4. Ich habe ja noch etwas vergessen.
    Du schreibst, dass Dich der Kopf vom Okapi an eine Giraffe erinnert. Okapis gehören ja auch zur Familie der Giraffen. Sie werden auch Waldgiraffen genannt.
    Google mal nach Okapi auf Wikipedia.

    LG Monika

  5. Lieber Ralph,
    es ist sehr schön zu wissen, dass die beiden Löwen nun ein gutes Zuhause im YWP bekommen haben. Das gefällt mir. – Die Okapis sind so anmutig. Die Rangers machen ihre Arbeit mit den Eisbären richtig großartig. Ich denke, deswegen geht es doch recht harmonisch dort zu.
    Ganz herzlichen Dank für Deinen interessanten Bericht und für die Fotos, die Du mitgebracht hast.
    Liebe Grüße von

  6. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for this fine report of your spontaneous visit in YWP.
    Did I already say that I love the look of the pics you´re taking with your mobile phone? 😉

    Thank you too for all these interesting informations about the animals and their keepers or to be precise rangers…

    How wonderful the lions of a Romanian circus were hosted by YWP. Now they will have a good and relaxed life.

    It´s good the rangers know the personalities of the polar bears so well. So they are able to react when something in their behaviour is changing. I´m happy that even Victor learns to play with the other chaps instead of chasing them!
    I look forward to reading the second part of your report.


  7. Lieber Ralph,
    Nobby und Victor, das ist schon toll wie die Pfleger die Bären zusammen bringen.
    Nobby hatte doch immer Angst vor Victor und jetzt spielen sie zusammen.
    In FB ist zu sehen, wie vielfältig der YWP ist und die Okapis sind die Jüngsten Bewohner.
    Wunderschöne Tiere, nur leider selten zu sehen.
    Vielen Dank, hat wieder Freude gemacht deinen Bericht zu sehen.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

  8. Mmmmhhh, the ‘Taste of Cornwall’ looks quite yummy and would fit me for breakfast at the moment 🙂
    And – wonderful – already in the first paragraph of your report I learned a new English (or may I say RALPH-) expression: “to keep ones fed”. Like this!

    Unfortunately it seems to be quite difficult to get into some links due to the new net-rules, such I couldn’t see the for sure interesting/fscinating contents of the following two links (3 lions beat a polar bear and the story around the corresponding stunt with AGEE) . . .

    Lions and Okapi are wonderful animals and it’s always good to see them live and/or in pics and to get further information about them.

    Of course, it is also very interesting to get to know about the mental development and behaviour between VICTOR, NOBBY, NISSAN, and PIXEL and how the rangers manage upcoming problems between the four of them . . . OMG: always this story with ‘. . . the hormones in the young bears kick in . . ‘ 😉

    ‘Bravo, NOBBY!’ -> it’s always intelligent not to complain about a certain situation but rather to see where the advantages may to be found in it . . . If this will not bring out others ruin, it seems to be a good thing to me (I started to learn accordingly myself in my old age 😉 ).

    Thank you, dear RALPH, for this report which was again fun to read!

  9. Lieber Ralph,

    vielen Dank für Deine vielen spannenden Infos aus dem YWP!!
    Giovanna wäre wirklich sehr stolz auf ihren Sohnemann.