YWP visit 25-26 September – Part 1 – Rasputin and other animals

Oct 6th, 2020 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

6.10.2020 by Ralph Morton

I decided at short notice to visit YWP (Yorkshire Wildlife Park) near Doncaster in order to see Rasputin, as there were rumours that he will go to Estonia to carry on breeding cubs. As is now normal with most zoos I had to buy my tickets online and reserve time slots. Fortunately this was easy and I could print the tickets out at Kidlington Library. I needed a hotel and phoned the Campanile hotel which I had used on previous visits. With Friday night booked all I needed was to sort out the trains.

Oxford Station and the Internet gave me information that I would have to change trains at Birmingham and Sheffield as Covid meant that the direct service was still cancelled.

Unusually British trains are now more reliable as there is less congestion thanks to Covid and on the day the connections worked. I got a local taxi to YWP (Doncaster taxi drivers are very helpful and Abdel was my driver for the whole stay). I presented my ticket and began the long walk to Raspi’s quarantine home in the enclosure formerly used by the rescued brown bears.


Rasputin has his own noticeboard, which is just as well as he spends much of his time in his den.





Fortunately I arrived just in time to catch him outside. He had been in water, which is too far away for my phone camera. He then decided to come back to his den.



As you can see I was lucky and Raspi came close enough to photograph. He was keen to get inside, perhaps because it was a very windy day.



Sadly for the rest of my visit Raspi made full use of his den rather than playing or swimming. He has a feeding area just outside.


Apart from occasional glimpses he remained snug and warm inside. The warning sign outside asks the keepers “Do you know where the bears are?”


There are some beautiful photos on Facebook of Raspi playing and swimming. Actually, I was lucky to get him so close to photograph. He is very popular at YWP despite being a bit hard to see.

As there is quite a long walk between Raspi and the remaining three Polars I found myself beimg able to get the odd shot of the many other interesting animals. The Amur Tigers are as well covered on Facebook as Raspi and co but are normally too far away for my phone camera. But I did get to catch Vladimir, the big male, patroling his realm.



A cheerful family of Bactrian camels live near Raspi. These animals are part of a YWP programme to help their relatives in Mongolia. I know them better as the Tierpark stars with their keepers in Panda, Gorilla and co. They are always fun to see.


I do not often follow the path into the African area of the park, but Raspi and the Covid distancing rules made me go some new ways. Raspi was not the only one avoiding the Yorkshire weather on Friday, three out of the park’s four Giraffes were indoors, but still curious to see their human friends back. Like many zoos YWP has different breeds of Giraffe including “hybrid” animals from two different breeds.


Normally the Rhinos also avoid the cold, but on Saturday two of the rare black Rhinos were in a playful or mating mood. To see these wonderful animals against the background of the English countryside is strange but nice.




The two attracted quite a crowd but I was able to catch some of the action. The two seemed quite friendly as they raced off back to their warm house.


A bit further on two unusual birds live together, although only one belongs in Africa. Elsie the Ostrich shares her paddock with Elvis the Emu. Elvis has lived at the park from its early days and deserves his own photo.



Originally two Giant Otter sisters lived in the area behind Project Polar but Alexandra now has a male called Ori from Denmark as a mate. The two seem to get on very well and are usually together.


I am looking forward to seeing Giant Otter babies as the parents both help to raise them and teach them. Hagenbeck showed this on German TV. The Otters are very noisy and YWP has a sign to help you work out what they are saying.



I will leave you with Raspi safe and sound in his den. Pixel, Nobby and Nissan were out and about, although on Friday they were getting clicker training but that is another story …


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  1. Lieber Ralph,

    da hattest du wieder Glück mit deiner Reise nach Doncaster und deinem Wiedersehen mit Raspi,
    dem es dort zu gefallen scheint.
    Hatte er schon Kontakt zu den anderen Bären oder ist er noch in der Eingewöhnungsphase?

    Das Liebesspiel der Rhinos ist sehr deftig und die Giraffen haben alles im Blick.
    Schön, dass auch viele andere Tiere die Größe der Anlage in Doncaster genießen können.

    Herzliche Grüße

  2. Lieber Ralph

    Rasputin ist wirklich ein beeindruckende Bär. Er wirkt riesig, steht gut im Futter und er scheint gutmütig zu sein.
    Einfach ein sympathischer Bär.
    Ich danke für Deine aktuellen News von Rasputin, den ich schon als einjähriges Bärchen in Nürnberg kennen und lieben gelernt habe.
    Interessant ist, auch mal andere Tiere aus dem YWP zu sehen.


  3. Dear Ralph,

    You were really lucky being able to spend some time with our Raspi. When we visit a zoo or an animal park we never know if we can see the animals we came to see.

    Monsieur Raspoutine is now Mister Rasputin but he looks as gorgeous as always! I didn’t know there are plans to move him to Tallinn. Well, it remains to be seen if he will join Friida later on.

    The beautiful Amur tiger has a Russian name, too – Vladimir. Did he come from Russia maybe?

    I like the photo of the camels. They sure look merry and happy. 🙂 The giraffes seemed to be very curous. What luck they have such long necks so they can see better ….. 🙂

    The rhinos are big animals but they can be very playful and I’ve been astonished seeing how fast they can run. – Elvis and Elsie are a sweet couple and, naturally, the otter sisters are very cute, too.

    Thank you so much for the first report from YWP!

    Hugs from Mervi

  4. Dear Ralph, you had a lot of courage to arrange your Doncaster travel, but it was all worth it, isn’t it.
    Raspi is looking gorgeous (as usual, no?), but maybe he starts to miss his beloved Flocke.
    According to me, the amur tiger is one of the most beautful animals on earth. And you made an excellent pic of this male.
    The curious giraffes are funny and whatever the real plans of the rhinos were, apparently, they kept you entertained.
    And there is not only love and peace between the otters, but also between the ostrich and the emu.
    Looking forward to your other reports.

  5. Thank you very much dear Ralph.
    Best wishes to Raspi, Nissan, Nobby, Pixel and all the other animals.

  6. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for your interesting and entertaining report from the YWP.
    I´m happy that Raspi is well cared for and wish this goodlooking and gorgeous bear all the best. Hopefully he will be accepted by the other bears and they will become friends.
    Thank you too for the photos of the other animals. I loved especially the tiger, the giraffes and the rhinos. Hopefully none of them got hurt during the mating.
    Like Patricia I found it very courageous to go to Doncaster by train in these times.
    Please be careful and stay healthy!

    All the best

  7. dear Ralph,
    I am glad you could see Rasputin while he was outside , he looks good but maybe he feels lonely.
    I wish Rasputin a lot of luck for his future.
    The other animals are also looking good, the Rhinos are my favorites, It was a joy to watch your pictures and interesting to read your report, Dankeschön.
    dear greetings and paw waves

  8. Rasputin sieht richtig puschelig aus. Hoffentlich wird er seinen nächsten Umzug auch wieder relativ gelassen und vor allem gesund überstehen und mögen ihm dann nur noch schöne Zeiten bevorstehen.

    Du hast diesmal für Deine Verhältnisse auch bei vielen anderen Tieren ein ‘Stop’ eingelegt und sogar Fotos von ihnen gemacht. Schön. Darüber habe ich mich gefreut. Danke, Ralph, fürs Teilen. Und Dank natürlich auch an Mervi für ihre üblichen Blogbesitzer-Arbeiten!

  9. Dear Ralph!
    It is great that you met Rasputin. He is an impressive Bär.
    The tigers have a huge area. I think Tschuna from the zoo Wuppertal lives in Doncaster.

  10. Lieber Ralph,
    Raspi ist beeindruckend und jetzt hat er auch wieder sein “Normalgewicht”
    YWP ist sehr groß und ich freie mich dass du auch die anderen Bewohner besucht hast.
    Ja Tschuna ist in Doncaster und hat auch schon Jungtiere aufgezogen, für eine Handaufzucht immer außergewöhnlich.
    Vielen Dank hat Spaß gemacht Deine Eindrücke und Bilder anzusehen.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

  11. Well, Raspi did come over to see you, at least. I hope you gave him greetings from his Flocke. Maybe he prefers the warmer climes of the French Riviera to the chilly Yorkshire winds.

    I enjoy seeing all the other animals, it is such a nice park, and I think the bears appreciate all the space.

    It’s great that you can take a few polar bear adventures, even in these trying times.

    Your American friend,