A rainy day near Doncaster

Oct 19th, 2021 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

19.10.2021 by Ralph Morton

On Tuesday 14 September I was safely in Doncaster. After a breakfast of porridge and coffee I caught the bus to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP).

The weather was unseasonably warm so I did not mind the rain which came on and off all day. Neither did the family at Project Polar 2. Two of them were investigating a tractor tyre, which was one of the many interesting items scattered around the enclosure.

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The family live in a very large grassy enclosure with lots for them to do. A red object on top of a wooden pole soon attracted their attention.

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Some idea of the size and determination of a Polar Bear can be appreciated in this sequence of photos. Both Flocke and the cubs tried their paws at this one. They would often go away and then come back after thinking of another way of getting to the top of the pole.

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The pole is about 8 ft tall (over 2.5 metres) and the Polar Bears did their best to stretch themselves up to their full height, making them taller than me!

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Mulch or any loose material is a favourite bedding material for Polar Bears. As this photo shows nothing flops more completely than a sleeping Polar.

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Toward midday I wandered over to Project Polar 1 to see what the males were doing. Nobby was in the paws back and front resting mode.

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The tractor tyre meanwhile was being given Polar Bear treatment. First: try and eat it. Second: destroy it so it can be eaten.

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The new team at Project Polar One were spread out. Nobby found himself a rock to rest on. Hamish and Sisu were playing in the water. Sisu seemed a bit shy at first but Hamish was not taking no for an answer. Hamish has taken over Nissan’s role as the hard playing food scoffing character. Maybe Polars have a secret stash of vodka or whisky. Nobby like his mum Giovanna likes to be the cool one and chill out.

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Luka has taken over Victor’s role as Mr Big. Victor was very much of the mascot for YWP as the Park’s first Polar Bear. Luka has the same pose and features as Victor. I am not mentioning the Teddy Bear ears – sorry Luka.

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Like Victor Luka enjoys being seen by visitors and shows how impressive the big male Polars are.

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After lunch I returned to Project Polar 2 to find Flocke and her cubs also enjoying their lunch.

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The natural grass enclosure means that the Polars really do look as if they are living on the tundra in a Canadian Summer.

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Of course if you include the background to the enclosure it is clear that we are in the UK. From a distance Flocke and her family might be taken for sheep. Yorkshire is famous amongst other things for its wool.

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Take a closer look and it is clear that Flocke is now at home in her new country estate. A year has passed since I saw her in the South of France and it is great to be back with her and the kids.

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Seagulls are everywhere in England these days attracted by easy meals. They seem unphased by the world’s largest land predator.

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The cubs, even tiny Tala, are getting as big as Flocke. Flocke has been so good at rearing them that the family rarely ever quarrels or at least when I have been there.

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Flocke has become a large confident Polar Bear. Her keepers in Nuremberg were proven right in the way they reared her as a team and introduced Raspi to her.

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Embarrassing baby photos are a hazard of adult life but it is nice to remember Flocke as a little bear like this Steiff toy.

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The afternoon was nearly over for me. Flocke and her family were together near their den for me to show their relative sizes.

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It is proof of Flocke’s great parenting skills that she is muddier than her cubs. So this report leaves Project Polar 2 with these group photos.

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It had been a long day and I was glad to get back to my hotel. The pub underneath served me a delicious beer and mixed grill. BN was happy to be back indoors.

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  1. Dear Ralph,
    it is great, that you managed to visit YWP. Flocke and her kids have a large enclosure and they have enough to do with the enrichment. The kids are no more small.
    The boys are busy too. Thank you for the interesting report.
    Hugs
    Ludmila

  2. Dear Ralph,

    What a great pleasure it was again to publish your excellent report – informative and entertaining at the same time!

    I love to see Flocke and her trojka having bundles of fun with all the enrichment they have.

    Nobby was very ‘nobbish’ again showing his Troll-pose. ­čÖé

    Luka is very impressive as Mr Big and Hamish is the bearsonal trainer of his friends. ­čśÇ

    I hope Sisu will soon be able to join the gang.

    The Red Lion looks like a cosy pub – especially when you didn’t have a long way to your hotel room. ­čÖé

    Thank you so much for sharing your impressions of your visit with the readers of this magazine!

    Hugs from Mervi

  3. Lieber Ralph,

    deine Fotos mit Flocke und ihren Kids zeigen ein harmonisches Familienleben. Es ist ein ganz besonderes Gl├╝ck, dass hier Mutter und ihre Kinder gemeinsam ein so sch├Ânes Zuhause gefunden haben. Ich glaube, das gab es bisher in der Vergangenheit wohl noch nie.

    Das verspielte Interesse der Kids an dem Holzstamm ist so typisch f├╝r die neugierigen B├Ąren, die alles ausprobieren und testen wollen.

    Es macht immer gro├če Freude deine Beobachtungen und Erkl├Ąrungen zu lesen,
    vielen Dank und liebe Gr├╝├če!
    Britta-Gudrun

  4. Dear Ralph!
    I am sure that despite the rain, which was warm after all, you had a lovely day and enjoyed watching your beloved ones very much. All the bears look wonderful and were on their best behaviour and/or playful moods. I especially loved the pictures of Luka.
    After such a rainy day, you really deserved a crowning finale in the pub!
    Thank you for this atmospheric report!

    Hugs
    Anke

  5. Lieber Ralph

    Ich freue mich ├╝ber all die Bilder.
    Die Familie um Flocke ist gro├čartig.
    Es ist schon wirklich etwas besonderes zu sehen, eine Mama und ihre 3 Kinder!!
    Und es sieht friedlich aus. Und nat├╝rlich auch verspielt.

    Die Eindr├╝cke der Jungs sind interessant und durch Deine Ausf├╝hrungen werden sie lebendig.

    Sch├Ân, dass es allen gut geht.

    Hugs,
    Anita

  6. Dear Ralph,
    ‘You had such a nice trip. How great that even in these difficult times you have been able to visit Flocke and her triplets in France and in YWP. Some memories to keep you warm during the coming winter.

    I wish I could have been there, but your story makes it all seem so real to me.

    Molly

  7. Thank you very much dear Ralph.
    Best wishes to Luka, Nobby, Hamish, Sisu, Flocke, Tala, Yuma and Indiana.

  8. Dear Ralph
    Thank you for the report.
    Flocke and her kids have
    found a good new home
    in Yorkshire! ­čÖé
    Greetings
    Chris

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