Country's oldest polar bear, Victor, dies at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Victor died at the age of 22.Victor died at the age of 22.
Victor died at the age of 22.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park has announced Victor, the country's oldest polar bear who lives at the park, has died.

Victor, who was 22, had taken ill earlier today (August 21) and suffered kidney failure. Despite the best efforts of the vets, the park said there was no other choice but to put him to sleep.

He was born at Rostock Zoo, in Germany, before moving to Rhenen in the Netherlands. After retiring from the European breeding programme he was rehomed at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in 2014. During his time in the breeding programme, he fathered 13 cubs and has many grandchildren around the world.

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A statement from the park said: "Victor spent his days enjoying the lakes and expansive habitat in Project Polar, one of the largest reserves in the world. He was joined by four other polar bears over the following five years.

"The Directors of Yorkshire Wildlife Park would like to thank the veterinary team from Portland House Veterinary Group who responded so quickly and who have worked and supported staff in caring for Victor since he arrived in Yorkshire.

"The park would also like to thank the dedicated staff team who have loved and cared for Victor since his arrival and who today are saddened at the loss of one who was a favourite at the park for staff and visitors alike.

"Victor was a great ambassador for his species, inspiring generations and drawing attention to the plight of his species in the wild and the threat of climate change. He will be greatly missed by everyone."

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The sad news comes as it was announced earlier this week that the first polar bear cub to be born in UK for 25 years would be moving home to Yorkshire Wildlife Park later this year.

Hamish will leave Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie, in Scotland, in the autumn and move to Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s Project Polar habitat after a recommendation from the European Endangered Species Programme.

Born on December 18 2017, he currently shares an enclosure with his mother Victoria and is now bigger than her. Keepers at the Scottish park say it is the right time for him to leave.


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Thank you

James Mitchinson