Yorkshire Wildlife Park – Nobby and Victor

May 18th, 2019 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

18.4.2019 by Ralph Morton

On Monday 1 April I took advantage of some decent weather to spend the day the YWP near Doncaster. Although I did visit some of the other interesting animals, most of my time was spent at the three enclosures that make up “Project Polar”.


The main and largest pool is on the right hand side of the map, together with the smaller, most recently opened enclosure. Nobby and Victor were able to use both these enclosures, using the tunnel cages in the middle of the three enclosures. As Nissan was being very possessive with Pixel, they had been given the medium sized enclosure on the left hand side of the plan.

This report will concentrate on Nobby and Victor. It is fair to say that, as the biggest and oldest bear, Victor has been somewhat irritated by Nobby and Nobby has kept as far away as he could from Victor. Last year, however, Nobby had stood up to Victor, and this year the two seem to have been able to get along, albeit mainly by staying out of each other’s way.


My first shot of the Nobby was taken in the new enclosure by the fence. Nobby likes to patrol the edges of any enclosure he is in, a habit he brought with him from Munich.


Nobby enjoys rolling down the slopes and rolling in mud, so he is rarely clean.


The watery edge of the new enclosure gives the impression of being on the edge of a settlement in Canada.


Nobby is always sniffing and checking out his surroundings.


Nobby strides along. He has long legs and big paws, so will certainly grow as big as his father, Yoghi.


There always seem to be things to eat or sniff in the enclosures.


Yorkshire is a county famous for the quality of its grazing land for sheep. Polar Bears enjoy grass as well, and Nobby is no exception.


Each Polar Bear has a slightly different shape and length of tail stump to cover the softer part of the body. Here you can see Nobby raising his to allow for “doing his business”.



Zoos are often criticised for having too many boulders or rocks in their enclosures. Although there is plenty of grass in “Project Polar” the bears enjoy walking over or lying down on the rocks.


Nobby checking out an interesting taste and smell on the rock, perhaps a scent marking from one of the other bears, or a treat left behind.



One of the best places to see the bears is the walkway that crosses the tunnel entrances to the new and big enclosures. Here you see several journeys by Nobby in and out of the tunnels.


Visitors always grumble that Polar Bears are usually sleeping. However, as this set of pictures of Victor in the big enclosure shows, they are always moving even when resting. Victor is a big favourite with visitors.


Here Victor has moved through to the new enclosure close to the fence and shows his distinctive head, and “those teddy bear ears”.




The elaborate and strongly built tunnel system links the enclosures and the dens in the centre of the complex. The keepers can control the movement of the bears without any risk of them coming into contact by a system of gates and locks. Here, Victor is trying to see how his grandson, Pixel, is getting on.


Later on in the day, Nobby and Victor met each other in the big enclosure. At first I thought we were going to see Nobby running away. But Nobby decided to stand his ground.


Size counts in the Polar Bear world, and Nobby is no longer a small shy bear. Mother Giovanna taught him well, and he is able to match Victor.



Nobby has come a long way, and even if Victor is still not so keen on him, respect has been gained.


Nobby and Victor relaxed next to each other. If “Project Polar” ever needed to prove its value in showing is how these big bears behave, these scenes must surely do so.

This has been a rather long report, and the pictures have had to be kept small because of the limits of a phone camera, but I hope that it has shown how Nobby and Victor are enjoying their lives in “Project Polar”.


Nobby spends a lot of time in the water, but this was the only shot worth sharing. The “Nobbie Ness monster” emerging from the new pool.


Finally, to show how relaxed Nobby is, even with Victor somewhere around, and the lovely spacious big pool, here he is in the afternoon sleeping away the day.

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  1. Lieber Ralph,

    wenn einer das “Projekt Polarbear” im Yorkshire Wildlife Park beurteilen kann, dann bis du das.
    Deine intensiven Beobachtungen über die Verhaltensweisen der männlichen Bären untereinander
    zeichnen dich mittlerweile als Experten aus, und die Pfleger finden in dir einen bestens informierten und
    interessierten Besucher.

    Auch ruhende und entspannte Bären sagen etwas über ihren Gemütszustand aus. Leider meinen viele
    Besucher, nur Tiere in Action seien interessant oder stören sogar durch unnötiges Rufen und Aufscheuchen.

    Ein Teil einer Bärenanlage mit Steinen und Felsen zu gestalten hat auch den praktischen Nutzen, dass die Bären ihre Krallen normal abwetzen, denn das Schneiden/Kürzen dieser würde immer wieder eine Narkose
    erfordern. Dennoch sollten sich in einem guten Gehege beide Untergründe gleichmäßig verteilen, so wie es auch hier gottlob vorhanden ist. Denn Bären buddeln doch auch gerne und liegen und wälzen sich ebenso gerne mal auf weicher Erde.

    Vielen Dank für deinen interessanten und ausführlichen Bericht mit lieben Grüßen!

  2. Dear Ralph,

    It’s obvious that Nobby is becoming more and more self confident and now even ‘challenges’ the old chap Victor. The big boss Victor is still the boss but Nobby sure does his best to be equal with him. 🙂

    My ‘little Nobby’ is already quite an impressive polar bear boy and I’m sure he will be as big or even bigger than his father Yoghi.

    The polar bear enclosures in YWP offer their inhabitants different kinds of grounds – grass, stones, boulders and, naturally, even nice ‘lakes’.

    I’m so glad that our ”Nobbie Ness Monster’ is having a good life in YWP. Of course, I’m also glad that Victor is still going very strong!

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

    Hugs from Mervi

  3. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for another part of the report about the polar bear living community in Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

    I´m happy for Nobby that he is no longer shy and afraid of Viktor and already able to stand his ground – although he is still a little smaller than Viktor.

    Your descriptions of the bears´ behaviour are interesting and plausible.

    I wish all four bears further on a good and happy life in YWP.


  4. Dear Ralph
    I’m very happy about your lines. Nobby is doing well, he is going to be a big one and now he gets along with Victor.
    Lots of positive news
    Thank you so much.

  5. Dear Ralph,
    Nobby is no more a very young bear. He will be 6 years old this year. It looks like Victor respects Nobby now.
    I am glad Nobby is doing well.

  6. dear Ralph,
    thank you so much for all your reports from Yorkshire Wildlife Park,I am very glad, that all the 4 Polar bears are feeling good and can enjoy their life at this wonderful Park. Nobby is my little favorite, what a big joy to see, that he likes to swim and can relax also when Victor is close to him. I wish all the best to Nissan, Pixel,Victor and Nobby.
    dear greetings and big paw waves to England

  7. That’s anothr interesting part of your YWP-reports showing the various landscape-spots in the polar bear enclosures.

    Compliments!, dear NOBBY, that you got VICTOR to also lower his head, as you did first.
    You are courageous and Mamma GIOVANNA were for sure be very proud of you, could she see you:

    Thank you, dear RALPH and MERVI.

  8. Lieber Ralph,

    danke für Deinen weiteren Bericht und Bildern vom Yorkshire Wildlife Park, diesmal als Hauptakteure Nobby und Victor.

    Auch wenn die Beiden wahrscheinlich keine Freunde mehr werden, ist es schön zu hören, dass sich die beiden inzwischen akzeptieren. Ja, Nobby ist ein schöner junger Eisbärenmann geworden.

    Liebe Grüße

  9. Lieber Ralph,
    mich freut es sehr, dass Nobby nicht mehr vor Viktor davon rennt.
    Nobby ist gewachsen und kann sich jetzt auch einmal wehren.
    Danke Dir für deinen interessanten Bericht und liebe Grüße
    Moni K