Yorkshire Wildlife Park is preparing to welcome a polar bear – who will the only one in England.
Victor, 15, will be the first resident of the park’s new polar bear reserve when he arrives from Holland.
The giant animal, which weighs 480 kilos, is heading to Yorkshire as he is no longer required for the breeding programme at Ouwehands Zoo.
The park’s director, John Minion, said: “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 move him to Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
“Polar bears are an iconic species that are increasingly threatened in their native habitat and we need to fight their cause.
“Their native sea ice is disappearing due to climate change but we still have a chance to do something about it. It is also vital that we understand how to care for these bears appropriately in captivity and provide for their needs. We are very excited at the prospect of having our first resident in the new reserve, which has been designed around the needs of the polar bear.”
Victor is due to be driven to the wildlife park near Doncaster in a specialist climate controlled transporter next month from Holland.
The exact timing of his arrival has yet to be decided as he is currently being trained to walk into his crate for the journey.
The new purpose-built polar bear reserve is one of the biggest in the world, spanning 10 acres – about 8.5 football pitches – and is divided into four sections, featuring landscaped hills, valleys, lakes with water up to 8m deep, pools and waterfalls.