Brown Bears arrive from Japan

“We are fortunate we have the space, animal management skills and experience to rehome these bears that will require specialist care and it is great to welcome them to Yorkshire. We are grateful to the Ainu Museum for releasing the bears to us where we will be able to give them a secure future.”

These four bears will acclimatise in a special rehabilitation carnivore reserve that has two animal houses with smaller reserves and two large reserves in just under 4 acres. 

The Park had a great response to a DIY SOS call to companies and tradespeople to help kit the reserve out with rocks, trees, platforms and other environmental features. The volunteers were busy the day before the bears arrived working on the reserve while the bears started their long journey to the UK.

The Ussuri Brown Bear is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to their vulnerability to habitat loss, illegal hunting for body parts and skins. There are estimated to be around 10,000 in Japan. The Ussuri Brown Bears are also known as the Black Grizzly, can weigh up to 550Kg and live up to 35 years.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation has been supporting animal welfare projects in Asia including bear welfare workshops in Japan and has been working with agencies in Japan and the UK charity Wild Welfare, a global organisation committed to improving welfare standards in captive wild animal facilities, to secure the transfer. 

The Ussuri bears that have come to YWP are too old to make any contribution to a breeding programme, but will have a valuable role as Ambassadors and to raise awareness for the work of the Foundation for bear welfare and conservation around the world. 

“The Ainu Museum bears came to our attention a few years ago and we’ve been working closely with them, Japanese animal welfare NGOs and zoo experts to try to find a more suitable home for them,” said Georgina Groves, Wild Welfare’s project director.

“It’s great that these four bears have a new home at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. It has a great track record and we know they will provide the bears with a home where they can receive the rehabilitation, enrichment and life-long care they need.”    

“The transport of live animals requires extensive planning and collaboration between various parties,” said Paul Chinery, Vice President Airfreight UK, DHL Global Forwarding. “We at DHL Global Forwarding are proud to have the chance to support the important work of institutions like Yorkshire Wildlife Park with our wide range of competencies, from rapid multimodal freight to customs clearance of sensitive cargo.
“Thanks to our extensive expertise of planning and executing challenging transports we could ensure a smooth transition of the four bears to their new sanctuary.” 

The Park and the YWP Foundation support conservation and welfare projects around the world from the critically endangered Amur leopard in Russia, the black rhino in East Africa to the lemurs of Madagascar.

 Yorkshire Wildlife Park opened in 2009, and its visitors get up close to some of the world’s most endangered and beautiful animals, including Tigers, African lions, and the country's only Polar Bears, in a walkthrough safari adventure.

 The bears can be seen on Big Week At The Zoo on Channel 5 later this month.

 For more information please visit: www.yorkshirewildlifepark.com