Rasputin – a polar bear born in Moscow – is settling in to a new home at Yorkshire Wildlife Park after being re-located to the borough’s zoo from a venue in France.
He takes the total of polar bears in Doncaster to five.
Rasputin was recommended to move to Yorkshire as the best home for him by the European Endangered Species Programme. He is fully grown at 12 years old and weighs in at around 500kg. He was born in Moscow Zoo and his mother still lives there aged 29.
He has lived in Antibes in France since 2010 and is the father of four cubs. His move was arranged as his mate Flocke had recently had cubs and needed to be kept separate from him while the cubs are small for their safety.
Rasputin’s keeper in France, Bruce Walton, said: “He is a lovely bear and I can see he will be very happy here and have a ball.”
Organising the polar bear move has been months in the planning, involving a team of vets and transport specialists. The journey was over 1,000 miles by road and ferry. They arrived in the UK on Wednesday and set off on the last leg of the journey to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster.
Rasputin will be kept initially in a separate reserve with his own lake for the first 4 months that he is at the Park due to quarantine requirements. He will then be moved to join resident polar bears Victor, Pixel, Nissan and Nobby.
Polar bears are the largest land carnivore and listed as endangered.
“Rasputin’s arrival is very exciting and I am sure he is going to settle in very well,” said Dr Matt Hartley, head of animals at the park.
Rasputin has been setting into his new home since his arrival on Wednesday January 29 away from the public gaze so that he can explore his new environment and try out the lakes but his reserve will be opened to visitors tomorrow, February 5