Yorkshire Wildlife Park announces ‘sad loss’ of last remaining rescued brown bear

The last of four endangered brown bears rescued from a museum in Japan before being brought to Doncaster has died at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Monday, 21st October 2019, 4:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 6:49 pm
Hanako, a 27-year-old Ussuri brown bear which had to be put to sleep on Saturday (Picture: Yorkshire Wildlife Park)

The park announced that Hanako, a 27-year-old Ussuri brown bear which was one of four to be treated in South Yorkshire since arriving here 18 months ago, had to be put to sleep on Saturday due to chronic health problems which came as a result of living in ‘cramped and poor conditions’ before being rescued.

On Monday, Yorkshire Wildlife Park said it was ‘deeply saddened’ by the death of Hanako, the oldest and only female bear of the four.

In a post, the park near Doncaster, said: “Her previous cramped and poor conditions meant that Hanako had with chronic health problems. When they arrived, they had problems with their teeth, mal-nourishment, joint and limb problems and they were underweight.

“Hanako also had specialist ophthalmic care for eye problems. Sadly, after the recurrence of stomach problems and several fits yesterday, the park vets made the decision to put her to sleep. A post mortem will be carried out early next week.

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“The park would like to thank the dedicated Carnivore and Vet teams, who have loved and cared for Hanako since her arrival and who today are grieving for her as she was a real character and favourite at the park for staff and visitors alike.”

Riku, Kai, Hanako and Amu arrived last summer after the owners of Ainu Cultural Museum on the Japanese island of Hokkaido admitted that they didn't have the necessary skills, space or experience to care for them.

With no facility available in Japan, Yorkshire Wildlife Park was chosen to house the bears because of the park’s expertise in welfare and rehabilitation, and a meticulously planned operation transferred them 5,400 miles to a purpose-built Rescue and Rehabilitation Reserve at the park.

Kai and Riku were aged 17 when they arrived at the park and Hanako and Amu were aged 27.

Amu was put to sleep in August 2018 with Kai and Riku being put to sleep in September and October 2019.

Ussuri Brown bears, also known as the ‘Black Grizzly’, can weigh up to 550kg and live up to 35 years old.

They are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as they have increased vulnerability due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for body parts and skin.