YWP and the charity, based at the innovative park, have been recognised for their tireless efforts to conserve the majestic animals whose Arctic habitat is shrinking because of global warming.
Meanwhile the award-winning attraction has a week of activities lined up for International Polar Bear week which began on November 5, to highlight the plight of polar bears and celebrate projects that are helping save them from extinction.
Climate change has triggered a reduction of the Arctic Sea ice where they roam and hunt, making their existence perilous.
But the park at Branton, near Doncaster, which has the country’s four polar bears, is part of fight back that involves home-based research and support for schemes across the Arctic. During International Polar Bear week a collection will be made for the Foundation as well as talks on the bear’s plight.
The park’s ten-acre Project Polar, one of the biggest polar reserves in the world and home to Victor, Pixel, Nissan and Nobby, recently won a prestigious gold award for its design.
Project Polar is Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s flagship project and combines three key objectives, conservation, welfare and education working towards saving and improving the welfare of polar bears.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation also recently sponsored a critical study that has filmed polar bear dens in the wilds of Svalbard, in Norway, to provide a wealth of critical data on their behaviour.
“We are eternally grateful for your involvement and we couldn’t do it without you,” stated the influential Polar Bears International organisation stated.
The fieldwork was complex and challenging with the team having to install and maintain cameras in mountainous terrain with temperatures at minus 18C.
The team needed helicopter support to establish isolated monitoring and tracking system to give an accurate picture of how the polar bears are coping.
The studies will continue as scientists work out ways of protecting polar bears from global warming which has seen a reduction of their sea ice hunting and breeding grounds in all the 19 regions they inhabit in the Arctic.
Janet Stringer, of Polar Bears International stated: “We are extremely grateful to Yorkshire Wildlife Park and the Foundation for your continued dedication to polar bear science and educational programs which increase our understanding of their world and the threats they face. We are so happy for your ongoing support and we look forward to continuing our work together to help conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on.
The conservation group will celebrate International Polar Bear Week with the ‘Energy Challenge’, volunteers of the task are encouraged to protect the vulnerable species by using less energy produced by fossil fuels by reducing energy consumption in the home and walking to the workplace.
Foundation trustee Cheryl Williams added: “We are delighted to support Polar Bears International in its range of activities that will provide more knowledge and ways that we can help protect polar bears. The generosity of our supporters has helped fund research such as Svalbard Maternal Den study.”
YWP which puts conservation at the heart of all its activities, offers visitors a mesmerising walk through experience – coming almost face to face with some world’s most beautiful and at risk species, including Amur Leopards and Tigers, Giraffes, Lions, Rhinos and many more.