Yorkshire Wildlife Park(YWP): Caring for Victor and some other residents

May 21st, 2019 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

21.5.2019 by Ralph Morton

Most of my time on Monday 1 April was spent at Project Polar, but I always try to walk round the Park and visit other residents. Many of them are too difficult to photograph, like the brown bears who were inside their den. There are of course some beautiful photographs of all the animals here.

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Before we meet Victor again, here are some of the residents I was able to photograph.



There are two Okapis living at YWP.


They are also called “Forest Giraffe” and like Giraffe can eat thick leaves and thorns with their long rubbery tongues.


The Okapi live next to their larger relatives and it was possible to compare the two as they ate from the trees.

Amur Tigers


YWP is part of an international programme to breed the rare Siberian or Amur Tigers in captivity. Here one of the females is fast asleep after eating.


Patrolling nearby is the male tiger, with the suitable name of Vlad.


Vlad takes the protection of his mates very seriously even in the safe space of the YWP.

Giant Otters


Neighbours of Project Polar are two Giant Otter sisters who came from Germany. They are very close to each other, but are also very competitive as I found later on.


The Rangers who look after the animals give talks to visitors about them at set times, and sometimes use the opportunity to give them treats. In these photos you can just make out one sister enjoying her fish, while the other closes in.


The sisters call to each other and the Rangers. A notice explains the various noises and what they mean.


At the end of the talk, the Ranger put some more fish to lure the sisters inside their den for the evening.


The two paws hold the fish which is eaten as fast as possible.


The speed at which the sisters eat is remarkable. But of course the other sister might be already finished and waiting to steal your fish!

Caring for Victor



There is always something interesting to see at YWP. In the afternoon two of the Rangers were preparing a treatment for Victor’s paws. Victor duly appeared.


Victor fills the big tunnel as he makes his way to where the Rangers are waiting.


A special mixture to treat Victor’s paws is poured into a metal tray in the tunnel.


The Rangers have a way of persuading Victor to stand in the water. A spoonful of jam is a special treat saved for occasions like this. Victor relishes the jam and meanwhile his feet are soaking in the mixture.


Two different types of jam are used, perhaps with some more medicine inside. Polar Bears are very suspicious and can taste any medicine unless it is disguised.

The Rangers also take the opportunity to look closely at Victor to examine him for any injuries or problems.


The tunnels and Rangers give an idea of how big a bear Victor is.

Victor and the other animals at YWP get the best possible care. If only we could look after their relatives in the wild as well.


Victor standing happily in the bath.




The chance to lick any jam left on the bars of the tunnel was too good to miss, and a certain bear from Munich was soon on the way to get his share! 🙂

I am very grateful to YWP for being so close to Oxford. Travelling there by train is perhaps a more earth friendly way to admire bears than my Continental trips. I will probably do this more often.

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  1. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for the last part of you report.
    I hope there is nothing serious regarding Viktor´s paws! I wish poor Nord in Tallin could have had a similar medical treatment like Viktor! …

    I´m convinced all animals in YWP are cared for well and the keepers do everything humanly possible to enrich their lives.

    But like you I´m deeply worried about their relatives in the wild and my heart sinks when I am thinking of their predictable fate in the nearer future.
    To go to YWP more often and avoid some flights is a good decision considering the climate change!


  2. Dear Ralph,

    It was interesting to see – and read – how the rangers take care of Viktor and his paws. They’ve found a perfect way to administer the medicine to the old chap!

    The giant otter sisters are lovely and the tigers very handsome.

    The okapi and the giraffe seem to be very good neighbours! 🙂

    Thank you so much for this informative report!

    Hugs from Mervi

  3. Dear Ralph

    Thank you very much for your as always very interesting report.
    So Viktor loves jam and everything that is sweet, of course also likes Nobby 🙂
    Your other pictures show, also the other animals live beautifully in the YPW.
    Yes, travelling by train is the most climate-friendly way to travel!!!


  4. Lieber Ralph,

    danke für Deinen weiteren Bericht und die Bilder aus dem YWP.
    Schön, dass Du außer Victor auch noch die Okapis, Tiger und Otter besucht hast.

    Liebe Grüße

  5. Lieber Ralph,
    im YWP leben jede Menge anderer Tiere und auf FB ist das wunderbar zu sehen.
    Mein Liebling ist die Tigerin Tschuna, eine Handaufzucht aus Deutschland.
    Tschuna hat im YWP schon erfolgreich Jungtiere aufgezogen, das ist ein großer Erfolg für den YWP.
    Danke Dir für deine interessanten Ausführungen zu Viktors Vorlieben und seine medizinischen Fußbäder.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K