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November, 2013

   ‘Pay By Phone’ Scheme Launched
   700 Students celebrate Degree success
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Title:Polar Bear Rescue
Author:Yorkshire Wildlife Park 
ID & Publication:20131111005 ~ The-Villager.co.uk 
Area:Branton 
Subject:Environment 
 Yorkshire Wildlife Park (14kb)

Yorkshire Wildlife Park is launching a bid to rescue a polar bear from soaring temperatures and a concrete enclosure in a Mexican zoo.

The award winning park has offered to rehome long suffering Yupi into a spectacular new polar bear reserve, which is already under construction.

YWP is aiming to raise £150,000 towards the project which will be a centre for Polar Bear conservation as well as for polar bears in need of rescuing.

The park, which rescued a pride of lions from Romania 3 years ago, decided to build the centre after being approached to see if they would offer a home to Yupi from Morelia Zoo.

Since then YWP has been consulting with experts worldwide to bring polar bears back to the UK for the first time in many years. There are no other polar bears in England.

Yupi has been at Morella since 1992, after being captured in the wild as a cub. Her concrete enclosure has virtually no shade, and offers little stimulation .

The soaring temperatures are difficult for a polar bear – the world largest carnivore and a vulnerable species - to deal with as they easily overheat.

Campaigners have been trying to encourage the zoo to move her to a more appropriate home for many years.

Now YWP, in Branton near Doncaster, has launched the Project Polar and is building a unique Polar Bear reserve, which is due to be completed early in 2014 and is believed to be the largest in Europe.

The park is still waiting an official response to their offer to rehome Yupi.

YWP Director Cheryl Williams said:’ We would be delighted to rehome Yupi and hope to hear from the Mexican authorities soon.

‘She is over twenty years old and it would be wonderful if she could enjoy the rest of her life in our new reserve.

‘The 10 acre reserve will be divided into four sections, each featuring landscaped hills, valleys and a main lake with streams, pools and waterfalls – an environment designed to stimulate their natural behaviour.

‘I hope all our visitors join in with our appeal to bring Yupi to Yorkshire Wildlife Park.’

Whatever happens with Yupi, a polar bear will definitely be arriving next year in Yorkshire.

YWP has also been liaising with the European breeding programme for Polar bears and is expecting the arrival of a young male bear in Spring 2014. The details will be confirmed over the next few weeks.

Cheryl Williams added: ‘We will concentrate on bears which are not currently required in the breeding programme or have been retired from it and will work with staff and research students to study the optimum welfare and husbandry for the bears in the new state of the art enclosure.’

The landscaping of the reserve will mirror the Arctic Tundra with grass, herbs, shrubs and heathers. There will be rocky areas which will also provide shelter for the bears as well as their main house.

The enclosure will help stimulate the natural behaviours such as swimming, roaming and foraging. The bears need the space to roam in a physically varied and stimulating complex environment and the staff will have a lot of training, support and facilities to create an enrichment programme to keep the polar bears stimulated to behave naturally.

YWP Director John Minion explained ` This is the ultimate project for YWP. It is combining conservation, welfare and husbandry and education about the impacts of climate change and global warming. Polar bears are an iconic species that are increasingly threatened in their native habitat and we need to fight their cause.
‘It is important that the polar bears in Europe are coordinated as part of the European breeding programme and it is also important that we understand how to care for these bears appropriately in captivity and provide for their needs. It is a very exciting project for us.’

Visitors to the park are being encouraged to fundraise or contribute to Project Polar.

Funds will be used for the rescue and relocation of bears, the development of the facilities, research, conservation and education for the Polar Bear Centre at the Park. Find out more on www.yorkshirewildlifeparkcom.

YWP puts conservation at the heart of all its activities – and provides visitors with unrivalled access to some of the world’s most beautiful and rarest animals on earth, including the Amur Leopards and Tigers as well as the African Painted Dog.

KEY POLAR BEAR FACTS
Polar Bears have amazing strength. They are the largest and most dangerous of the 8 species of bears – an adult polar bear can weigh 400 – 600kg (775 – 1200 lbs). At the shoulder they can be 3.5 – 5 ft tall and an adult male may reach over 10 feet tall when standing on his hind legs. As efficient predators, they are very intelligent and develop hunting strategies. They normally live until they are 25- 30.
Listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List, the polar bear has been affected by sea ice losses in the Arctic from global warming which have caused a loss of habitat and prey. In summer 2012, sea ice losses in the Arctic were larger than the size of the United States. Biologists estimate that there are 20,000 – 25,000 polar bears. About 60% of these live in Canada and they are also found in the U.S. (Alaska), Russia, Greenland and on Norway’s Svalbord archipelago. At the 2009 meeting of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group, scientists reported that of 19 subpopulations of bears 8 are declining, 3 are stable and 1 is increasing. There was not sufficient data to determine the status of the other 7 populations. YWP will be working with the conservation organisation Polar Bears International to raise funds and support research and work with polar bears in the wild.

If you would like to comment on this or any article e-mail ~ editor@the-villager.co.uk
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Author: 'Yorkshire Wildlife Park'   Area: 'Branton'
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