Polar bear conference in Doncaster attracts worldwide attention

  • Video report by Martin Fisher

The polar bears at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster have attracted worldwide attention after a major conference was held there.

Zoo, parks and conservation centres all met at the park - which is home to the only polar bears in England - to discuss the threats facing the animals and what can be done to protect them.

The conference heard how some populations are seeing a 40 percent decline in numbers.

Cheryl Williams, chief executive of Yorkshire Wildlife Park said: "The message that came out after talking to Polar Bears International is that there is hope and there is time, by everybody working together.

"The zoos have got massive audiences - the researchers out in the field are gathering really important information."

The park has had polar bears for ten years and its Wildlife Foundation is at the forefront of global conservation programmes.

It is thought there are about 26,000 polar bears worldwide but without action all but a few could be lost by the end of the century.The Wildlife Foundation based at the park has donated 10,000 pounds to support polar bear conservation and already bears there have been used to breed.

Rebecca Brown, head of carnivores at the park, said:"We had two bears with us previously, Nissan and Pixel, and genetically they were really important part of the breeding programme.

"So we got contacted by the stud book keeper about how they were managed for breeding and we were advised to relocate them so they went to join a lovely female in France."The conference was also a vital information exchange and a chance to see how training polar bears can help provide vital information that can protect the species.

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