Christmas came early to Yorkshire Wildlife Park as rangers deliver special presents to all the animals

The rangers at the park, who work every day over the Xmas period including Christmas Day, were busy giving out delicious treats and toys for everyone.

The team, dressed in Santa hats, delivered extra portions of fruit and vegetables in boxes to the meerkats and armadillos. Meanwhile, the wallabies and lemurs enjoyed some seeds and nuts packed into festive crackers. 

Fish and meat treats were also handed out to the Amur Tigers, Leopards and Lions, in tinsel-covered buckets as Xmas joy was spread around the 150-acre park. 

The parks newest Polar Bears - Hamish, Luka and Sisu – were also eager to get their paws on their first festive gifts.

The three new arrivals continue to settle in well with resident bear Nobby as they prepared to celebrate their first Christmas together at the Project Polar Reserve. The bears gifts did not disappoint as they received a special festive fish mixture with an additional sprinkling of their favourite cod liver oil.

Other delights included a selection of fresh Christmas vegetables for a special baboon, a platter of fine fish treats for the South American Giant Otter duo, healthy candy canes for the giraffes and Christmas goodies for the young hyena cubs.

“Christmas is a special time for everyone, even this year, but our dedicated staff will be here caring for the animals as they do all year round,” said Debbie Porter, Animal Manager, of the park at Branton, near Doncaster.

“We always try to make the holiday season a special one for the animals. Although it is a lot less than Santa Claus has to deliver to with over 450 animals it takes all week to make sure they all get a special Christmas treat.

"Despite the tough year we have had, the staff are still in great spirits as they go about all their daily chores, from mucking out to health checks, and we are really grateful for their dedication.”

“Caring for the animals year round is always such a pleasure for us but on Christmas we like to give the animals an extra special treat. It’s such a joy to see the animals open their presents,” said Dr. Matt Hartley, Head of Animals. 

“It’s great fun at the park over Christmas as the animals love experiencing something a bit different and don’t worry, we make sure to give them all healthy treats.”

YWP, which puts conservation at the heart of all its activities, is open for advanced bookings every day except Christmas Day for a COVID safe day out for all the family coming almost face to face with some of the world’s most beautiful and rare species. The Winter Illuminations continue over Christmas until January 17th .