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UK Polar Bear Update

Bowdleflode News No. 51 – August 2022

UK Polar bear update

Baby rhino following its mother through the bush with it nose millimetres from her back leg.

Polar Bears cautious but calm!

Two young polar bears have been successfully introduced to older bears at The Yorskshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster.

Indie and Yuma, both aged two-and-a-half, met Sisu and Nobby, who are more than twice their size and age.  The meeting was risky as the bears are territorial and can attack others.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park has eight polar bears and runs a research and conservation project to try to help save the endangered animal.  The young bears arrived at the park in June 2021 from a zoo in the south of France.  They have since been living in a separate reserve next door to the park’s other bears, with their mother Flocke and sister Tala.

Head of carnivores Kim Wilkins said the bears were “cautious at first but were soon all playing together.  When polar bears like each other, they make a chuffing noise.  If they don’t like each other, we get lots of growls.”

To ensure the move ran smoothly, the park got them used to their new surroundings and then slowly began to integrate them with the other males, with a view to gradually increase the time as the bears get to know each other.  Eventually the bears will all live together in the park’s specially designed 10-acre Project Polar reserve which include pools, a 25ft deep lake, caves and terrain that mimics the Arctic Circle in summer.

 

Baby rhino following its mother through the bush with it nose millimetres from her back leg.

Spot beach wildlife – and respect it!

Polar Bear on whale

Large scallop shell

With the summer holidays upon us and many flocking to the coastline for breaks away, the seaside offers many opportunities for nature spotting.  From marine mammals, like whales and dolphins to breeding seabirds and rare wildflowers, there’s definitely plenty to explore for those wanting a change from swimming, sun bathing and ice cream!  Here’s how to make the most of your trip, without harming any wildlife.

Marine Mammals

There’s nothing quite like seeing seals, whales, porpoises or dolphins in the wild. The best way to see them is usually to take a boat trip, but boats can run the risk of stressing out these animals and interfering with their normal behaviour. You can avoid this by checking the credentials of any boat trip provider. As a rough rule of thumb, operators that run small-to-medium boats and place an emphasis on science and conservation tend to be better. Outfits that have many outings a day, or very big boats, are more likely to be disturbing animals. If you happen to encounter marine animals in the water (perhaps while kayaking or paddle boarding) or on the beach (in the case of seals), it’s a good idea to keep a distance of around 200 metres, so as not to startle them.

Rock pooling

A joyful experience of many childhoods is exploring rock pools for marine life.  However, it undoubtedly also disturbs the animals.  It’s worth keeping a few rules in mind so that the benefits of learning about these habitats can outweigh the harms of temporarily interfering with them. 

  • When you approach a rock pool, do it quietly and position yourself so that you don’t cast a shadow, which could frighten animals away.
  • Before putting your hands in, take a moment to see what you can observe – seaweed, anemones, shrimp, maybe a crab.
  • There’s even more to see if you turn over a rock, but make sure to put it back where it was, and the sooner you do this the better.
  • If you’d like a closer look at anything, scoop it up in a bucket with some seawater, for a short amount of time.  Observe it – count its legs, note its colour, see how it moves – and then put it back.
  • Don’t catch more than one animal in a bucket at a time – some animals will eat the others.

Bird watching

The UK is globally significant as both feeding and breeding grounds for seabirds and waders.

To see birds like lapwings, oystercatchers, avocets, and green sandpipers, look for a dedicated nature reserve with plenty of wetland habitat – saltmarsh, mudbanks and river estuaries are all ideal wader territory.  For breeding seabirds like puffins, guillemots, and gannets, you need to find an area of cliff that hosts seabird breeding colonies.  Many of these are on islands, so a boat trip is often your best bet, enabling you to observe these wonderful birds at a respectful distance.

If you enjoy coastal walks with your dog, look out for local signs and restricted areas, and heed any requests to put your dog on a lead.  Many coastal birds nest on the ground and dogs can have a devastating effect on their efforts to raise their young.

Bowdleflode of the Month

This month’s Bowdleflode has been created by Ilan, aged 7, home educated

Meet… PIGER!

 

Piger is the size of a Giant Panda with stripes like a tiger. He is chubby and has a 2m long tail

He loves coconuts and bananas and  sleeps in a hammock under the tropical trees on the island – sounds idyllic!

Piger likes to swim around his island with his friends and he sleeps at night when he isn’t bat spotting. 

 


Thank you Ilan for your wonderful creation !

👏 👏⠀