Snowy fun at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Vlad the tiger enjoys the snow at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
Vlad the tiger enjoys the snow at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

snow fall may have inconvenienced travel throughout England, but for some of Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s animals it provided a blanket of fun.

Our Amur tigers Vladimir and Sayan had a good romp, says education officer Jessica Riederer.

Vlad the tiger enjoys the snow at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Vlad the tiger enjoys the snow at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

We have all been looking forward to seeing our tigers in the snow. In their native Russian habitat, snow would have been a regular part of their life. Vladimir, born at the Highland Wildlife Park, Scotland, would have seen snow as a cub, and he was clearly enjoying the first snow fall of 2012. Part of his frolicking involved lot of rolling about and rubbing his face in the snow in what looked like sheer bliss. Sayan still displays more of a ‘serious’ personality than Vladimir but she too managed to have a bit of a play.

The animals of the Africa paddock did not seem fazed at all – after all, none of them probably know they are from Africa so they always take Yorkshire’s changing weather in their stride. It might be a little bit odd to see ostriches walking about on the snow but it did not stop our three young cheeky zebras from chasing, kicking and biting each other and kicking up their heels.

Most of the larger animals at YWP grow thick winter coats. Our Bactrian camels probably have the thickest coats and a chilly winter day at YWP will be nothing compared to what they would endure in their native home Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. During the winter in the Gobi Desert, temperatures can drop to – 40 degrees.

Because the lake in Lion Country has frozen, we are currently only able to put one lion pride out at a time. The last thing we need is for a lion to try and cross the lake and fall through the ice. The lions always enjoy a bit of a play every day, and sliding about on the snow, chasing each other is always fun to watch.

Vlad the tiger enjoys the snow at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Vlad the tiger enjoys the snow at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

For the smaller animals, heat is the key to ensuring their comfort and safety this winter. Our meerkats always have access to their outdoor areas but are generally content to stay inside and watch the world go by from their heated bedrooms. I was surprised however to see our male meerkat Arthur and his two sons brave the snow for a bit of fresh winter air through.

The lemurs and squirrel monkeys also have heated indoor areas. The lemurs are a bit more robust than the squirrel monkeys and will have a bit of a frolic in the snow but the squirrel monkeys – even the two young adventurous boys Hugo and Diego, were having none of it.

This winter has been far milder than last winter but as usual, our rangers work hard to ensure all of Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s animals have the most comfortable winter possible. Please check telephone us to check for potential closures prior to a visit on icy, wintry days, otherwise, dress warmly and bring your camera and we will see you soon.

Jessica Riederer

Education Officer