The Yorkshire Wildlife Park has given a home to a displaced polar bear from France.
Twelve-year-old Rasputin arrived at the Doncaster attraction this week from a zoo in Antibes, in the south of France, where he had lived since 2010.
The 500kg father-of-four was born in Russia and spent two years at Moscow Zoo, where his 29-year-old mother still lives. He was named Rasputin after the controversial holy man and healer who was a confidante of Tsar Nicholas II and assassinated during World War One.
Rasputin is the fifth polar bear to he housed in the park's purpose-built reserve, which replicates their Arctic habitat. He was relocated because his mate had recently had cubs and needed to be accommodated separately for the safety of the young.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park brands itself 'the UK's polar bear capital' as it home to the only living examples of the species in England. The park was chosen as a suitable home for him as part of the European Endangered Species Programme.
He was accompanied on his journey to Doncaster by his keeper Bruce Walton, who worked with him in France. He was deliberately moved during the winter for his own comfort in a logistically challenging operation.
A team of vets and transport specialists from Marineland spent months planning the 1,000-mile journey by road and ferry, and had to take into account pre-Brexit delays at Calais.
He was loaded into his crate on January 28 and arrived in the UK the following day.
Rasputin will be kept initially in a separate reserve with his own lake for the first four months that he is at the park due to quarantine requirements.
He will then be moved to join resident polar bears Victor, Pixel, Nissan and Nobby at the award-winning Project Polar, which has 10 acres of reserves and lakes. The largest lake is 7.5m deep so the bears can dive and play in the cold depths.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park's head of animals Dr Matt Hartley said:-
“Rasputin’s arrival is very exciting and I am sure he is going to settle in very well. We were pleased when we found out the park was recommended by the EEP as Rasputin’s new home.
"We have a unique mix of bears at Project Polar which is always a favourite with visitors as they are active and charismatic - and all completely different characters.
“We are committed to our conservation work at the park and through the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation working together with Polar Bears International and believe that he will be another great polar bear ambassador.
"He will help us move forward in our fight to ensure polar bears can ultimately survive the damage climate change is causing to their environment.”