My visit to YWP 25 to 26 September Part 3 – Polar Bear contacts

Oct 24th, 2020 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

24.10.2020 by Ralph Morton

YWP is located in typical English green countryside. Watching Polar Bears in such a beautiful place takes on new meaning after months of Covid confinement.



Two Polar Bears together. I think this is Nissan and Pixel. Last time I said it was Nobby who had a Tapirlip but Nissan has that. Pixel is somewhat bigger than the other two and whiter. Nobby has a longer face than Nissan. But only Stephen King and the Rangers know them apart.


The bears move frequently between the three enlosures and this is useful for capturing them on the phone camera. I think this bear is Pixel.



The size and power of these male bears can be seen when they walk.


With Polar Bears, like all animals, what goes in must come out. Polar Bears at YWP find all sorts to eat in the grass, including grass itself.



What makes this interesting is that it allows us to see the short tail lifting up. The tail is quite long and has bone and muscle inside.


Meetings between Polar Bears are usually relaxed affairs. The three now know one another very well.



Biting may seem aggressive. Polar bear cubs bite everything and everyone to recognise them. Grown up bears seem to do the same.



Tasting and sniffing are essential for Polar Bear communication. All three bears are in these pictures.



The sniff and taste ritual is seen whenever Polar Bears meet. It would be wonderful to know what information is passed. I have seen Polar Bears separated by barriers or distance use the same technique.




Cubs learn to wrestle with their mother or other cubs. Females will wrestle with a male to check he is strong enough to give her healthy cubs. Wrestling is also fun and a key part of Polar Bear contact.




Sitting or resting together is the most relaxing way of passing the time. It shows how well Polar Bears can get along in same gender groups. Munich may give us scenes like these between Giovanna, Nanook and Nuna.





Linking all three enclosures and providing dens and a reserve small enclosure is a high security area protected by strong metal. It resembles a certain infamous US detention facility. The Polars rather like the tunnels and cages and often rest in them.






It was great to be back at YWP after 8 months since I had last been. Victor had passed away and I finish this report with a photo of him last April striding along on those massive paws. He was YWP’s first Polar Bear and his teddy bear ears and large personality like Knut ensure that he lives on in the hearts of YWP’s team and visitors.


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  1. Dear Ralph,

    You had good chances to see the polar bears very closely and take nice photos of them.

    It’s difficult to tell who’s who when you don’t meet the bears so often. The keepers, of course, know their darlings. However, it’s good to see the trio is doing fine. I can understand that Victor is deeply missed.

    Your captions make this report very informative and enjoyable – as usual!!

    Thank you so much for sharing your impressions with the readers of KWM!

    Hugs from Mervi

  2. Thank you very much dear Ralph.
    Best wishes to all the bears.
    May Viktor rest in peace. We will never forget him. We will always love him.

  3. Lieber Ralph,

    wieder hat du viele Details entdeckt und interessante Beobachtungen gemacht, an denen du uns teilhaben lässt.
    Die drei Bären sehen prima aus und haben es schön dort. Mit dem Hochsicherheitstrakt hast du wohl Recht, denn die Kraft dieser Kolosse ist enorm und darf nicht unterschätzt werden.

    Ich freue mich für dich über das Wiedersehen mit der Boy-Group nach so langer Zeit!

    Herzlichen Dank und liebe Grüße

  4. Dear Ralph!
    You had a great time with the polar bears. You could see them very close. The pictures are great.

  5. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for another part of your report about the visit in YWP.
    As always it was informative and entertaining the same time.
    I had a good laugh about Britta-Gudruns expression “boygroup” for the bears… 🙂
    With regard to predators of any kind safety first is a general rule.

    All the best, take care and stay healthy!

  6. dear Ralph,
    it was a joy to see the Polars in such a good mood, a little bit of wrestling and show how big we are, is the normal way, the bears have a wonderful home and good keepers, I hope so much, that also Nobby is happy.
    the picture of Victor is very touching. Nobody of his friends can forget him. Thank you very much for your always interesting report and for all these good pictures. I hope you were not alone on your journey, maybe BN was on your side.
    dear greetings and good wishes

  7. Lieber Ralph,
    es ist wirklich schwer die Bären richtig zu benennen.
    Ich habe auch Nissan und Raspi verwechselt, war nur das Gesicht zu sehen und nicht der ganze Bär.
    Sehr erstaunlich dass die Bären gerne in den engen Laufkäfigen liegen und sich gar nicht beengt fühlen.
    vielen Dank, hat wieder sehr viel Spaß gemacht deine Bilder und Erklärungen zu sehen.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

  8. Dear Ralph,
    How lucky you were to be able to visit these guys. I wonder how they will change the rotations when Wee Hamish arrives, and maybe Raspi gets introduced.

    The bears act much like dogs do when they are meeting and gathering information, sniffing and sniffing. Their noses tell us much more than our noses do.

    We will all have lovely polar bear trips together sometime in the future, we just don’t know when. I have always had the best time when you are along! Many happy memories.


  9. Dear Ralph

    I have long been fascinated by the social behavior and communication of polar bears.
    I find your interesting observations/descriptions so very exciting.
    Twice in Munich I was able to witness how Giovanna raised her children. Each time I was amazed how Giovanna made it clear to her offspring what is allowed and what is not allowed.
    A Munich newspaper wrote about this topic, how well-behaved and obedient polar bear children are compared to human children. Aptly formulated.

    Viktor will always remain in my memory as a gentle giant.

    Stay healthy!

  10. Die Bären sehen alle sehr gut aus.
    Wieder interessante Erkenntnisse
    aus Yorkshire – danke fürs zeigen.

  11. Dear Ralph, I can only join with the others and what they wrote. It is such a wonderful expercience to see the big polar bears so closeby. Actually, I am looking a little green now,. When there is no struggle for food, males seem to be able to live together (and females in their own group as well). And I hope that very soon, you will be able to visit them again and to give us an update about their well-being.