“My first post in a while, just taking it slowly, waiting for next spinal op!!. I sincerely hope this park is to help polar bears, not breed them or just have them for entertainment. If only they could rescue Yupi; currently housed at Morelia Zoo in Mexico! I hate to see wild animals behind bars, but have to also say this is a pretty impressive enclosure, shame they couldn’t add icebergs & snow….but living in England myself, he may just get a taste of life in the snow; however nothing like the habitat this bear should be in…wild & free!!!”

News Link; Post 1; BORN FREE

Yorkshire Wildlife Park has announced the import of a polar bear, Victor, from Rhenen Zoo in the Netherlands. According to their website, Victor is a 15-year-old bear who has been “retired” from the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP).

The arrival of Victor represents the first time that a polar bear has been kept in a zoo in England since the death of Mandy at Flamingo Land in 2004. (However, we believe that there is a female polar bear at a private facility in Oxfordshire).

There are considerable threats facing wild polar bears and their habitat, but Born Free firmly believes that breeding more bears in zoos has no genuine role to play in polar bear conservation. Furthermore, experience of polar bears in zoos the world over has shown us time and again that polar bears simply do not fare well in captivity – partly as a consequence of the restricted environment. It must be taken into account that the average polar bear enclosure in captivity is 1 million times smaller than the natural range of a polar bear in the wild.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the UK has not become “polar bear-free”. After many years of campaigning, Born Free was instrumental in securing the transfer of Mercedes, the last polar bear at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, to their sister site at Highland Wildlife Park. Mercedes had been kept in a wholly unsuitable “traditional” bear enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo since 1984. Highland Wildlife Park brought in a young male from the Netherlands, just prior to Mercedes’ death in 2011. Another male polar bear was then imported in 2012 from a zoo in Germany.

According to news reports, Victor is expected to be joined by two other polar bears by the end of the year, although it is currently unclear where these bears will be arriving from. Yorkshire Wildlife Park has so far not ruled out breeding polar bears at their new facility.

In October 2013, Yorkshire Wildlife Park launched a £150,000 appeal to rescue Yupi, a female polar bear currently housed at Morelia Zoo in Mexico in what most experts believe is a very inappropriate climate and enclosure. The offer to rehome Yupi is yet to be accepted and it is unclear whether there is any realistic chance of Yupi being relocated to Yorkshire.

If Yorkshire Wildlife Park truly wants to help polar bears, it will focus on genuine rescues of polar bears from the most unsuitable zoos worldwide, rather than act as a facility for European zoos to offload bears surplus to requirements from the European breeding programme. Furthermore, Yorkshire Wildlife Park should ensure that they do not breed from any bears, to avoid adding to the numbers of bears in captivity with no prospect of release to the wild.

For more information see link & post below:

http://www.yorkshirewildlifepark.com/#!news/c1qh1

Help us monitor their behaviour and protect them in the wild by adopting the Hudson Bay Polar Bears

News Link:-http://www.bornfree.org.uk/news/news-article/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1657

News Link; Post 2 DAILYMAILCO,UK

I’m bearing up nicely! After a 12-hour journey, Victor, England’s only polar bear, chills out in his new home

  • Victor, a 1,058lb polar bear, has become England’s only polar bear after moving to Doncaster from Holland 
  • The 15-year-old was retired from a breeding programme because he is father to nearly all of Europe’s polar bears
  • He has moved into a 10-acre park in Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which includes 8m deep lakes and an Arctic climate
  • More polar bears will be arriving to give him some company over the next few months, park officials say

By OLLIE GILLMAN FOR MAILONLINE and CHRIS BROOKE FOR THE DAILY MAIL

Frolicking in his new home, England’s only polar bear is a picture of contentment.

But moving the 75-stone animal from a Dutch zoo to this purpose-built enclosure was a tricky proposition – not least for Victor himself.

With his breeding days behind him, the 15-year-old was picked to be the first occupant of an £850,000 facility at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, complete with an eight-metre-deep lake and swathes of grassland, designed to resemble the Arctic tundra in the summer.

To reach it, however, he had to endure a 12-hour journey locked inside a cramped metal box. After being trained to walk into the cage, he was loaded on to a lorry and then ferried to Hull from the port of Zeebrugge, receiving fish and water through the bars along the way.

His new keepers were relieved that upon his arrival on Thursday they were met by a ‘very confident’ and ‘laid back’ character – rather than a polar bear with a sore head.

After spending the weekend in a holding area to give him time to adjust, Victor was finally let loose in his new home yesterday. He quickly settled in with a refreshing dip in the man-made lake, before a rest in one of the caves dug into a bank at the side of the water.

His enclosure is one of the biggest in the world, and could hold up to ten more animals. Victor is expected to be joined by two others by the end of the year – but for now he has all ten acres to himself.

Cheryl Williams, the wildlife park’s director, said: ‘He is quite greedy and loves meat and fish, with his favourite being mackerel, but he is not very impressed by vegetables. I have been told he likes the occasional peanut butter sandwich but we haven’t tried that yet.

‘He weighs about 480kg (1058lbs) so he is pretty chunky, but that is his summer weight. When it comes up to winter he will become a real hungry Horace and eat lots more, when it gets colder he will probably be about 500kg (1102lbs).

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To reach it, however, he had to endure a 12-hour journey locked inside a cramped metal box. After being trained to walk into the cage, he was loaded on to a lorry and then ferried to Hull from the port of Zeebrugge, receiving fish and water through the bars along the way.

His new keepers were relieved that upon his arrival on Thursday they were met by a ‘very confident’ and ‘laid back’ character – rather than a polar bear with a sore head.

After spending the weekend in a holding area to give him time to adjust, Victor was finally let loose in his new home yesterday. He quickly settled in with a refreshing dip in the man-made lake, before a rest in one of the caves dug into a bank at the side of the water.

His enclosure is one of the biggest in the world, and could hold up to ten more animals. Victor is expected to be joined by two others by the end of the year – but for now he has all ten acres to himself.

Cheryl Williams, the wildlife park’s director, said: ‘He is quite greedy and loves meat and fish, with his favourite being mackerel, but he is not very impressed by vegetables. I have been told he likes the occasional peanut butter sandwich but we haven’t tried that yet.

‘He weighs about 480kg (1058lbs) so he is pretty chunky, but that is his summer weight. When it comes up to winter he will become a real hungry Horace and eat lots more, when it gets colder he will probably be about 500kg (1102lbs).

Victor, who retired from a breeding programme after fathering ten cubs, is the first polar bear to live in England for about a decade. He was born in captivity in Rostock, Germany, before moving to Rhenen in the Netherlands.

His new keepers hope to use their enclosure to re-home bears living in unsuitable homes in Eastern Europe or tropical countries. The animal, who is such a prolific breeder that he had to be retired because he is father to most of Europe’s polar bears, now lives in a 10-acre enclosure which has the environment of an Arctic summer.

Park director John Minion said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Victor to the park and be able to make a contribution to polar bear conservation. ‘Victor has made a great contribution to the European breeding programme and his genes are very well represented now so the decision was made to retire him to the park. ‘He’s actually the most prolific breeder across Europe, so most polar bears in Europe are probably his children.

Published on 18 Aug 2014

Polar bear Victor is set to become the first resident in the Doncaster-based wildlife park’s purpose-built polar bear centre. The 15-year-old polar bear is due to arrive at the park from his home at Rhenen Zoo in Holland next month, – and will be the only one in England.

VIDEOhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2727861/It-s-long-way-t-Arctic-Britain-s-polar-bear-Victor-arrives-new-home-Yorkshire.html#v-3735643981001

‘But that doesn’t stop Victor from being an ambassador for the Arctic. Polar bears are an iconic species that are increasingly threatened in their native habitat and we need to fight their cause. The park expect Victor to live for anotjer 15 years at least, but he will not be lonely for long as more bears are expected to join him soon. ‘We will have more bears arriving in the autumn and will announce those as soon as details are finalised,’ Mr Minion added.

‘So because of that he’s now been retired from the breeding programme and we offered him a home as we’ve just built this specialist enclosure which is the biggest in Europe at the moment.’

And if Victor is anything to go by, the other polar bears will settle in fine at the large enclosure, dubbed Project Polar, which features landscaped hills, valleys, and lakes with water up to 8m deep. Within 10 minutes of arriving he was seen in his house, eating food and having a drink ‘like he had been here all his life’, Mr Minion said. He will be kept of out of the public gaze while he acclimatises to British temperatures, but will be able to explore his new home.

Mr Minion explained what Project Polar includes: ‘The landscaping of the reserves mirror the Arctic Tundra with grass, herbs, shrubs and heathers. There are rocky areas and caves, which provide shelter for the bears as well as their main house. ‘The large lake is 8m deep so Victor will be able to swim and dive. We are sure that Victor will enjoy his new surroundings.’

Last year Yorkshire Wildlife Park offered a home to Yupi, a polar bear trapped in soaring temperatures and a concrete enclosure in a Mexican zoo.

Yupi has been at Morelia Zoo since 1992, after being captured in the wild as a cub. Her current concrete enclosure has virtually no shade, and offers little stimulation, causing campaigners to encourage the zoo to move her to a more appropriate home.

The Doncaster park made an offer to rehouse Yupi, but it is yet to be accepted. Ms Williams said: ‘We would still be delighted to re-home Yupi, who is over twenty years old. It would be wonderful if she could enjoy the rest of her life in the reserve here, so we wait for further news from Morelia.’  There are two other polar bears in Britain, who both live at Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. One of them, called Walker, is one of Victor’s many sons.

All Pictures In Daily Mail News Link From: FameFlynet.uk.com

News Link:-http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2727861/It-s-long-way-t-Arctic-Britain-s-polar-bear-Victor-arrives-new-home-Yorkshire.html

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