Yorkshire Wildlife Park
|Date opened||4 April 2009|
|Location||Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England|
|Land area||260 acres (110 ha)|
|Annual visitors||323,000 (2011)|
|Major exhibits||Lion Country, Land of the Tiger, Leopard Heights|
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is a wildlife park located just outside Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in England. It was built on the site of Brockholes Farm Visitor Centre, which closed to the public in November 2008.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
Cheryl and Neville Williams (experienced zookeepers from Woburn Safari Park) and business partner John Minion purchased the site in 2008 with funding from Lloyds TSB Commercial, private investment, and a Yorkshire Forward grant. The site was renovated over the 2008–2009 winter, and officially opened by Justin Fletcher, MBE (also known as Mr Tumble from CBeebies) on 4 April 2009.
In February 2010 the park rescued 13 lions from a Romanian zoo and, after their quarantine period released them into the newly built 10-acre (4.0 ha) Lion Country enclosure.
In 2011 the zoo opened Land of the Tigers, which contains two pools and a waterfall and was created next to a wetland reserve. Visitors view the tigers from a 150-metre (490 ft) raised walkway, with the tiger enclosure on one side of the walkway and the wetlands on the other.
In March 2012 the park opened Leopard Heights, a £300,000 open-topped enclosure that lets visitors view the Amur leopards from an 8-metre (26 ft) viewing tower or from ground level through a 10-metre (33 ft) long glass wall. The 6,000-square-metre (65,000 sq ft) enclosure is claimed to be the largest leopard enclosure in the world.
The park has become a popular attraction in its first few years, starting in 2009 with only 66,000 visitors, it hosted 323,000 in 2011.
Animals at the zoo include Ankole cattle, red deer, lechwe, sitatunga, addax, Chapman's zebra, eland, ostrich, emu, Bactrian camel, guanaco, llama, African lion, African hunting dog, raccoon dog, meerkat, yellow mongoose, red river hog, red-necked wallaby, ring-tailed lemur, Black and white ruffed lemur, brown lemur, domestic sheep, tortoise, chickens, macaws, donkey, black swan, Siberian tigers, capybara, agouti, squirrel monkeys, rhea, mara, marmosets, Amur leopard, Giant Anteater and Giraffe.
Lion Country is home to the zoo's pride of lions, rescued from a zoo in Romania.
Lemur Woods is a walk through enclosure is home to the zoo's ring tailed, brown and black and white ruffed lemurs.
African Plains is a large paddock is home to African plains animals including, lechwe, chapmans's zebra, ostrich, ankole cattle, eland, and emu.
Endangered Africa is home to the zoo's pack of African hunting dogs.
Wallaby Walkabout is a walkthrough enclosure is home to wallabies.
Land of the Tigers is home to the zoo's Amur tigers.
Leopard Heights is home to the zoo's Amur leopards.
South American Viva is a walkthrough enclosure is home to squirrel monkeys, mara, capybara, agouti and rhea. There is also a separate enclosure for marmosets.
Other Animals Other animals at the zoo include, meerkats, mongoose, raccoon dogs, flamingos, addax, red river hogs, bactrian camels, giraffe and sitatunga.
By 28 September 2012, four new giraffes had settled into the parks brand new £350,000 giraffe enclosure. Palle arrived from Copenhagen, Jambo from Woburn Safari park and Jasper and Behansin both joined the group from West Midlands Safari Park. In addition to the one acre paddock in front of the house, giraffes will have access to the 16 acre African reserve in good weather. From starting with the batchelor group of males, the park hopes to incorporate a breeding group in the future.
In August 2009, Oradea Zoological Garden, a small state zoo in Romania, sent out a call for help with their 3 prides of African lions, who were living in squalid conditions in cages 15 by 12 feet (4.6 by 3.7 m), with at least 5 lions in each cage. With the help of The News of the World, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park appealed to the public to raise £150,000 for transport costs and a 10-acre (4.0 ha) enclosure. In just 8 weeks, over £126,000 was donated, and by December 2009 the rescue mission was given the go-ahead by authorities in both countries.
The original plan was to move all 13 lions by lorry, but Romania was suffering from one of the worst winters in history and it was realised that this would be dangerous. The Yorkshire based airline Jet2.com offered to fly the lions to the UK from Budapest airport, completely free.
On 11 February 2010, at 12.16pm (GMT) the lions arrived at Robin Hood Airport on the Lion Express. By the end of the day the lions were in quarantine at the park, where they would spend the next 6 months undergoing a regime to help them gain weight and improve their health.
On Tuesday 25 May 2010, the lions were released in their new enclosure.
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