Polar bear brothers leave family home for 'bachelor pad' at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Brothers Yuma and Indie. Credit: Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Two young polar bears have been moved into a new "bachelor pad" at a wildlife park after getting too big and boisterous for their mother.

Brothers Yuma and Indie arrived at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster in June 2021 from Marineland in the south of France, along with their mother Flocke and sister Tala. They had been living together in a separate family reserve.

But rangers decided it was time for the brothers to move on and set about making a plan to allow them to live more independently.

The juvenile bears, who are two-and-a-half years old, were transported across the park to the main 10-acre Project Polar reserve in special transport crates in a meticulously planned operation.

Brothers play fighting in their new surroundings

Rangers had been training the youngsters to enter the crates, rewarding them with treats including cubes of lard, cod liver oil, and squirts of whipped cream.

Indie, the larger of the two brothers, was the first to enter the crate and be moved to the new home. He was followed by his smaller brother, Yuma.

Having taken a day to settle in, they were let out to explore their new surroundings which include pools, a lake, caves and rock covered terrain to mimic the Artic Circle in the Summer.

It is a purpose designed habitat for the bachelor Polar Bears that live there.

Yuma and Indie about to take their first dip in the lake at their new home

The park's head of carnivores Kim Wilkins said: "The move went better than we could have ever planned.

"The bears were super well-behaved and the whole thing was done and dusted in half the time expected, it took less than an hour - never underestimate the power of whipped cream over Polar Bears!

"We will get them settled into Project Polar 1, which we call our bachelor pad, because it’s got all our adult males in it."

They will be sharing their new residence with four other male bears– ten-year-old Luka, nine-year-old Nobby, five-year-old Sisu, and four-year-old Hamish.

Kim said: “The bears were cautious at first but were soon playing in their new space. It didn’t take them long to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings.

"They’re having a great time leaving their own smell, which is really important and also learning where the boundaries are and investigating all of those fabulous pools we’ve got.

"This will help when they come to meet all of the other bears-they’ll be confident about their surroundings."

Enjoying the water as they go for their first swim

To ensure the move runs smoothly the brothers will be given time to get used to their new surroundings before being slowly introduced to the other males in the area.

Project Polar is the largest Polar Bear Centre outside of Canada and is home to the England’s only eight Polar Bears. It remains at the forefront of international conservation and research initiatives that are working to save the largest land carnivore.