NOBBY the polar bear has become the latest addition to the animal kingdom at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
The two-year-old took his first steps around his new home today at the award-winning park where he becomes the attraction’s fourth polar bear.
He will take a while to settle in and get used to his new surroundings and polar neighbours and then visitors will soon be able to see him out and about.Simon Marsh, animal collection manager at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
The group will support animal research and help raise funds and awareness aimed at protecting the vulnerable species whose habitat is threatened by climate change.
Nobby shares his new home with Victor, Pixel and Nissan at the 10-acre Project Polar complex which features pools, caves and rolling terrain to replicate the bears’ Arctic summer tundra habitat.
Simon Marsh, animal collection manager of the park at Branton, near Doncaster, said: “We are delighted to welcome Nobby to Project Polar. He will take a while to settle in and get used to his new surroundings and polar neighbours and then visitors will soon be able to see him out and about.
“The Polar Reserve is spacious and designed to stimulate the bears and ensure they have enough room to roam,forage, play and swim. I’m sure Nobby will quickly become a favourite just like Victor, Pixel and Nissan.”
The all-male grouping has been brought together in co-ordination with the European Endangered Species Programme for polar bears. Project Polar is the one of the largest reserves in the world and a dynamic initiative for conservation, welfare and research.
The two-day operation to transport Nobby from Munich Zoo, where he was born, to Doncaster has been six months in planning and the 1,000-mile trip went without incident.
Keepers at Munich worked with Nobby and his twin Nella to gradually introduce and acclimatize them to their separate travelling crates in preparation for their journeys. Nella will take up residence with a female group in a Dutch zoo.
The timing of the move reflects the call of the wild where young polar bears split from their mother after two years and strike out on their own.
“It is exactly what happens in the wild and Nobby is ready for the move,” added Mr Marsh. “We put a lot of planning into any journey we do with our animals and this was no different. We want to ensure they are comfortable and relaxed as possible and I can confirm that Nobby arrived in good spirits and was excited to explore his new home.”
The wildlife park’s four male bears are the only polar bears in the country.
Nobby introduction comes just after the park announced a £3.6m expansion and improvement plan for 2016 which will see endangered black rhinos brought in. The plans include the current ‘African Plains’ complex being redeveloped and expanded to create a new walk through safari experience.