Doncaster Diary: Tuesday 5 April

May 14th, 2022 | By | Category: Ralph's reports

14.5.2022 by Ralph Morton

My second day at Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) took me to Project Polar 2 (PP2) to see how Flocke was getting on. The family were still inside the Den open air area.

Tala, however, had been outside and came back to see how everyone was doing.

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Flocke was still very much in charge. She led the cubs out. Yuma and Tala followed with Indy bringing up the rear.

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Seeing the cubs together with Flocke (the dirty bear leading) Indy (bringing up the rear) is now bigger than his mum. Yuma is about the same size. Tala remains the smallest.

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Tala went off to explore, leaving the boys behind. A ranger went inside the dens to tidy up. Tala ever curious was soon outside checking what was going on.

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Flocke and the boys returned to see what was going on.

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Polar Bears do not like closed doors or gates. As you can see the gate is only just wide enough for two bears side by side.

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The build up of bears continued. Polar Bear boomsies are comfortably furry. ­čÖé

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At last the ranger let the family back into the den. This was my cue to set off on the long journey to PP1 where the four male Polar Bears.

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A ranger was working on the walkway over the den and one bear was in the tunnel when I got there. The bears are regularly moved around between the enclosures as part of their enrichment but also to feed or give them medical treatment.

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I spent some time watching the bears at PP1 but did not take many pictures of them.

Toys are a favourite Polar Bear pastime. In the wild they only get to do so when well fed and their natural instinct to investigate new objects can give way to play. I offer a few blurry images of Sisu.

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On my way back to see Flocke I saw the Amur Tigers were walking around. They have a large and varied enclosure. Part of which is a flat area with a pool.

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Indy and Yuma were following Flocke when I arrived at PP2. This was part of the process of Flocke weaning them off her milk and getting ready to leave them. The boys did not of course understand this. A second time mum, Flocke had not done this before with her first cub, Hope, but her instinct had kicked in.

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A ranger was taking notes and keeping an eye on the family. Flocke was occasionally growling at the boys but otherwise she was remarkably patient.

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Tala had been amusing herself chasing an object into the water. She always kept an eye on where her family was.

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This was to be the last week that the four would be able to move around as a family.

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For much of the rest of the afternoon, Indy and Yuma followed Flocke everywhere.

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But I leave you with my favourite view of Flocke striding along in front of three healthy cubs.

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I had first seen this after a dash to Antibes in 2020 during the gap between lockdowns. I never dreamt that Flocke and her family would become a regular visit here in England.

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  1. Lieber Ralph,

    das ist wieder alles ganz sehr fein,hab lieben Dank daf├╝r! Flocke und ihre Kinder im Tro├č war schon was ganz besonderes!

    Liebe Gr├╝├če von Brigitte.

  2. Dear Ralph!
    Thank you for continuing your report on the April visit to YWP.
    As I said, it is always a little melancholy for us when polar bear mothers and their children part ways. The beautiful, sheltered time of their childhood is irrevocably over and their future uncertain. I wish Flockes and Rasputin’s offspring only the best!
    I was very happy to see Sisu playing! How good that he is well again!

    Hugs
    Anke

  3. Dear Ralph,

    I like the last two images, when they were very different ages, then and now. Flocke has done such a good job as a devoted polar bear mother, and now, easing their parting. You were lucky to be there that last week together.

    She may have been raised by humans, but she knew how to be a wonderful mother. And now she can enjoy her free time, maybe take up a new hobby.

    Your photos have captured the little family at a pivotal time. Thanks for sharing.

    Molly

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