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.
In July 2014, the park opened a large enclosure for polar bears, with the first bear being 500kg male Viktor.
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 and exhibits
Lion Country was opened in May 2010, and houses a pride of thirteen African lions, all of which came from Oradea Zoological Garden in Romania. The lions were kept in small enclosures and poor living conditions at the Romanian zoo, which could not adequately care for them, and Yorkshire Wildlife Park acquired the lions in February 2010.
Land of the Tigers
Land of the Tigers houses three Siberian tigers, named Sayan, Vladimir and Tschuna. The enclosure features two pools and a waterfall, as well as a 150 metre walkway for visitors.
Project Polar Reserve
Opened in August 2014, Project Polar Reserve houses a single male polar bear named Victor, the only polar bear in an English zoo.
South America Viva
South America Viva is a walk-through enclosure displaying several South American species, including mara, squirrel monkeys and capybara. There are also separate enclosures housing giant anteaters and common marmosets, which are situated near an South America-themed restaurant called "I Caramba!".
Other notable animals in the park's collection include Amur leopards, Bennett's wallabies, African wild dogs, sitatunga, red river hogs, Bactrian camels, addax, Rothschild's giraffes, flamingos, meerkats and yellow mongooses.
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- "Justin Fletcher - Declares the Yorkshire Wildlife Park open" (YouTube video). YWPL (Yorkshire Wildlife Park). 4 April 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
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- "Land of the Tigers". www.landofthetigers.co.uk. Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
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