Yorkshire Wildlife Park Says Goodbye to Hector

Yorkshire Wildlife Park Says Goodbye To Hector

Hector was born on the 29th March 2015 and reared by his Mum, Tschuna, along with his brother and sister, Harley and Hope. This was a planned breeding of our Amur tigers at Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) as part of a global conservation breeding programme to secure a health insurance population of this endangered big cat.

The Amur tiger was hunted to near extinction with only 40 tigers left in the wild. Now, thanks to international conservation efforts over the last 60 years, the Amur tiger numbers have risen to over 500 individuals. YWP and the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation are helping to protect tigers in the wild by supporting conservation projects in Russia and running education programmes for school children and visitors at the wildlife park.

We believe this is the first time an Amur tiger has been moved from the UK to a North American zoo as part of this international breeding programme. It took 12 months to plan, arrange and prepare Hectors move from YWP to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in the USA. There is a huge amount of paperwork to complete before a tiger can move from the UK to the USA. Once all the various government agencies, veterinarians and International organisations like CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) have given authorisation we can approach the airports and airlines to arrange for a tiger in a crate to fly to the States.

While the paperwork was being arranged the carnivore rangers at YWP were hard at work preparing Hector for his trip. They spent a lot of time training Hector to enter the specially designed shipping crate, made to safely move a 160kg tiger. He was very relaxed and calm for the entire trip.

On the day everything went smoothly, Hector walked in to the crate and laid down. We shut the door behind him a locked the crate, then we loaded the crate into a van to drive him to Heathrow where he went through Customs. There was a slight delay at the airport as the first plane was full of US military dogs and their handlers so it was decided to wait for the next flight which would be a lot quieter for Hector. He Touched down in Chicago the next day and had the final drive to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo where he happy walk out of the crate and into his new home. Once he is settled in he will be paired up with a female and start a family of his own and continue to help as an ambassador to the critical conservation work zoos and wildlife parks carry out around the world.

Everyone at Yorkshire Wildlife Park is sad to see Hector leave, but we wish Hector all the best in his new home!