THIS is set to become the new home for Doncaster’s latest big cats at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
The venue at Branton has released artists’ impressions of the enclosure which will be home for two pairs of tigers later this year and work has started on building it.
The first two tigers have now been identified and plans are being developed for their relocation to Yorkshire.
A young two-year-old male tiger called Vladimir is to travel to Doncaster from the Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie.
The second tiger has a longer journey to Yorkshire – Elsa, an eight-year-old female will travel from Sofia Zoo in Bulgaria, where she has been housed since being seized by the Ministry from a private collection.
Bosses at the YWP responded to a request for a home from Sofia Zoo and directors travelled to Bulgaria last week to see Elsa.
They will be the first of two pairs of endangered Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers.
The Amur tiger is the largest big cat in the world. Threatened by habitat loss and poachers, this tiger is critically endangered with fewer than 400 animals thought still to survive in the wild.
Directors at the walkthrough safari park have been working with the studbook keeper for Amur tiger European breeding programme to identify the four individuals that could come to Yorkshire from other zoos and parks from around Europe. They are expected to arrive in the spring.
Tigers in the breeding programme are selected for their suitability and genetic diversity for the breeding programme.
Moves and breeding recommendations are made by the studbook keeper who coordinates the whole programme.
Two pools and a waterfall for the water-loving tigers will feature in the tigers’ new home, which is being created at the park alongside a natural British Nature wetlands reserve.
Viewing for visitors will be along a stunning 150m walkway with views to one side of the endangered cats and from the other side to the endangered British wetland habitat and the rich bird and animal life that lives there. Yorkshire Wildlife Park is working closely with biodiversity experts and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to protect and encourage biodiversity in the wetland habitat at the Park.
Animal Director John Minion said: “We are all excited about the first tigers coming to Yorkshire Wildlife Park and being involved with their conservation on an international level.
“There is a lot of hard work now to be done on the paperwork and logistics of moving these big cats to Doncaster. But this is another big milestone for the Park. “
David Friesner, Welcome to Yorkshire’s Area Director for South Yorkshire, said: “The addition of this tiger reserve will no doubt draw even more visitors from far and wide.”