Project Polar is a world-class centre for Polar Bear conservation and welfare. The 10 acre reserve is currently home to four male Polar bears: Nobby, Hamish, Luka & Sisu.
The ground-breaking reserve features topography modeled on the Canadian arctic tundra including several lakes, the largest one covering an area of 6,500 square metres, containing over 25.5 million gallons of water!
The cold 8 metre deep lake is fantastic for these amazing animals to swim, dive and play in and features an island that you will frequently see the bears jumping off into the water.
Working in association with Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation (YWPF) and Polar Bears International (PBI), Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s Project Polar is YWP and YWPF’s flagship project. It combines all three key objectives, conservation, welfare and education working towards saving and improving the welfare of one of the most iconic species – the polar bear.
Working with YWPF, YWP is a partner in the development of an international centre for the conservation and rehabilitation of polar bears both in captivity and in the wild. The work will include the rescue of bears from substandard conditions around the world and working on improving polar bear welfare in zoos and parks. Working with Polar Bears International, Project Polar will work to support the conservation and welfare of wild bears.
Luka Hamish Sisu
Project Polar has become an international centre for research and education at all levels, with the support of the regional universities. This is a ground-breaking initiative in the world of conservation, welfare and research. With your support, not only will the great white bear survive into the future, but we can also educate and hopefully help to reverse the devastating effects climate change is having not only the animal world, but humans too.
THE PROJECT POLAR RESERVE
Each reserve was built to reflect the habitat of the Arctic tundra commonly found in North Canada during the summer months. The Polar bear population of South Hudson Bay can spend up to 7 months of the year in similar conditions found at Project Polar – and not year round snow and ice. Temperatures in the Hudson Bay summer can reach up to 26 degrees C, similar to that of our local climate in Doncaster!
The Project Polar substrate mirrors that of the Hudson Bay region giving bears a naturalistic environment to live and explore. This includes rocky beaches, water pools, grassy plains and shaded caves.
Polar Bears are extremely intelligent animals that require lots of cognitive stimulation as well as physical space to run, swim and play. You may often see the bears playing with enrichment items such as barrels, tubes and even kayaks.
POLAR BEARS IN THE WILD
Polar bears are native to the Arctic, they are divided into 19 subpopulations, 3 of which are in decline and are at risk of further decline due to climate change. The word `Arctic’ means with bear and `Antarctic’ means without bear. Polar bears are fantastically well adapted to their extremely harsh environment, for example their white coat scatters and reflects light providing excellent camouflage, and it’s also very thick for good insulation and waterproof! Not only this but their skin under their white coat is black, excellent for absorbing and retaining heat.
Historically hunting was the major threat facing polar bears, causing a drastic population decline. Hunting is now strictly regulated. The threats caused by global warming are now the main concern, but because humans are causing the problem, humans can fix it. This means all of us, individuals, communities, businesses and governments. If present emissions of greenhouse gasses are significantly reduced the polar bear and arctic habitat can be saved.
However, scientists predict that unless we take action to stop climate change, we will lose two-thirds of all polar bears by the middle of the century and all of them by the end of the century. Polar bears depend on sea ice for hunting and breeding and it is melting at an alarming rate. YWP work closely with a number of organisations to push for change, ensuring these magnificent animals and their habitat are here for years to come. Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation (YWPF) support Polar Bears International (PBI) through donations, PBI are building momentum for action on climate change and work closely with the world’s leading polar bear scientists.
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