Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) on Wednesday 22 January – Part 1

Feb 17th, 2020 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

17.2.2020 by Ralph Morton

At rather short notice I decided to take advantage of a break in the wet weather and head north to Doncaster by train for the day. I was lucky and both journeys were on time and comfortable.

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Just after the main entrance to the park is a house and enclosure for Meerkats. A large group of schoolchildren were fascinated by the single guardian Meerkat.

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The Rangers, as the keepers are known at YWP, ensure that all the animals are kept busy. Meerkats are highly intelligent and these little boxes of snacks were being sorted.

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The Guardian soon decided that as the schoolchildren were neither a threat nor a tasty snack, the boxes were more interesting.

As you know, my main purpose is to visit Polar Bears. “Project Polar” is home to four male Polars.

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Although rather out of date, this is the best plan of the area devoted to the bears. Starting with the biggest enclosure at the bottom right and opposite the next biggest, while in the middle is steel and concrete house for the bears. The top right enclosure was introduced last year, while the top left enclosure has been delayed by the underground gas pipes and other work at YWP.

On Wednesday, Nobby and Victor were in the bottom left enclosure, while Nissan and Pixel were in the new enclosure.

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The first bear I saw when I arrived was Nobby. He has very long legs and an elegant Polar Bear shape.

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Nobby had just taken down his Christmas tree.

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Nissan has become so attached to Pixel that he will not let the other bears near him.

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Pixel, Victor’s grandson, is the second biggest bear at YWP. But Nissan, on the right in this picture, is now the most assertive and cheekiest.

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I was fortunate as they decided to come close to the main path to see if any of the Rangers were around.

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Normally all the bears at YWP are rather muddy, so this was a rare opportunity to see two of them in a colour we associate with Polars.

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Sniffing and tasting are the main means of communication between Polars.

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The bears are gradually becoming very similar in size.

Victor and Nobby

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It would have been hard to imagine a few months back that Nobby and Victor would happily share an enclosure. While they are still not best friends like Nissan and Pixel, they seem to rub along.

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Victor is an impressive male, and one of the largest in Europe.

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Although Victor may look cuddly, as this photo shows, he has powerful teeth.

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This photo of Victor helping with the Christmas tree shows that YWP is on the edge of a busy town.

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Christmas trees are a popular gift for Polars, and Victor is no exception.

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Victor seems to be picking up a lot of Nobby’s habits. He is not as white as he used to be.

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He had a wonderful lion mane stain on his back.

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Victor looks like a much younger bear as he demonstrates a Nobby roll.

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Almost taking his applause, Victor remains the Boss at Project Polar.

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  1. The introducing guardian Meerkat’s three pics in the beginning of your report are as funny as cute!

    Thank you very much for having shown this plan of the polar bears’ area cut in four parts so to say. This seems to be a good solution for the peaceful being together of four adult males.

    NISSAN and PIXEL give the image of ‘an old couple’. 😉

    Good to learn that VICTOR and NOBBY seem to be together once in a while and to ‘leanr’ from one another(!?).

    Thank you for the information and interesting pleasant pics (love the rolling VICTOR! . . .)

  2. Dear Ralph,
    the meerkats are very cute.
    Nissan and Pixel look like a couple, not as friends. I find this behavior a bit strange.
    Nobby grown a lot. Now he can be friend of Victor.
    Hugs
    Ludmila

  3. Ludmila

    I think that if you have four male Polar Bears living together for so long, you will get some unusual relationships. YWP are of course well aware of this. It was originally hoped that Nissan would leave to join the breeding programme once he was old enough. The Rangers keep a close eye on the bears and if being together stresses them they are separated. However, Pixel seems to cope with his odd admirer

  4. Dear Ralph,

    It looks like the meerkats had established a welcoming committé for you! 🙂

    Nobby really looks very elegant – no matter if he’s white or ‘off-white’. How great he has become on friendly terms with the old chap Victor.

    Nissan and Pixel seem to be very, very good friends. This time you were very lucky to see them so close.

    I guess you’re already excited about your next visit in Doncaster. Then you will even meet our Raspi!

    Thank you so much for this charming report of the bachelors in YWP!

    Hugs from Mervi

  5. Dear Ralph!
    What a nice welcome the guardian meerkat gave you. These little rascals are for sure everybody´s darlings in every zoo.

    Thank you for the update of the polar bears in YWP. It is good to know that all bears are doing well.
    I´d like to join Mervi: it doesn´t matter whether they are white as snow or off-white to muddy…

    Viktor is a big and very impressiv polar bear. Fortunately he and Nobby get along well now.

    Hugs
    Anke

  6. Dear Ralph

    The bears are very impressiv !
    Thank you for your detailed report.
    I also like the meerkats, they are so cute.

    Greetings
    Chris

  7. Lieber Ralph,

    schön, dass Du “Deine” Jungs in Yorkshire wieder besucht hast.
    Es scheint allen gut zu gehen. Jedenfalls sehen sie alle gut aus.

    Und einige süße Erdmännchen hast Du auch getroffen.

    Bei uns gibt es bei den Erdmännchen gerade vier Jungtiere.

    Liebe Grüße
    Monika

  8. Lieber Ralph,
    YWP ist schon ein ganz besonderer Zoo und ich bin begeistert wie die Haltung von 4 männl. Eisbären
    dort gehandelt wird.
    Nissan und Pixel sind noch immer beste Freunde und ich bin froh daß auch Nobby und Viktor miteinander
    auskommen.
    Interessant wird es wenn Raspi mit einem anderen Bären zusammen kommt und ich bin gespannt
    auf die Größenunterschiede.
    Danke Dir, war wieder sehr interessant deine Ausführungen zu lesen.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

  9. Lieber Ralph!

    Danke fuer die tollen Bilder von den Jungs.

    Liebe Gruesse, Erika

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