The best of the nation’s tourism was celebrated during English Tourism Week (March 30 to April 7) as the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park approached its landmark tenth anniversary.
Built on a former riding school and farm, Yorkshire Wildlife Park has come along way since it opened in April 2009. A dynamic centre for conservation and welfare, the park has more than 400 animals and more than 70 different species of animal.
YWP’s mission is to create a dynamic, interactive experience and regional centre of excellence for the conservation of biodiversity globally and locally that is sustainable both for the environment and the business.
It also aims to promote a wider understanding of the natural world and inspire generations to support and protect the world around them.
Since opening on April 4th 2009, the park in Doncaster has grown to be one of the largest attractions in Yorkshire with a global reputation for its conservation and welfare work.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which attracts more than 750,000 visitors per year, is one of the top zoos and wildlife parks in the country and a major force for animal conservation over the past decade.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park provides visitors with a unique opportunity to come face to face with some of the world's most beautiful and endangered species such as Amur Leopards and Tigers as well as the country's only Polar Bears at the ground-breaking Project Polar.
The large reserves include walk through areas such as Lemur Woods, Wallaby Walkthrough and South America Viva provide space for animals and visitors alike.
One of the park’s biggest attractions are the polar bears. Working in association with Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation (YWPF) and Polar Bears International (PBI), Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s Project Polar is YWP and YWPF’s flagship project. It combines all three key objectives, conservation, welfare and education working towards saving and improving the welfare of one of the most iconic species – the polar bear.
The park has also been highlighted for its rescue work over the past 10 years especially the Lion Rescue in 2010 when 13 lions were rescued from a rundown zoo in Romania, and in 2018 with the rehoming of the three Ussuri brown bears who were being kept in cramped conditions in a museum in Japan.
Over the years, the staff have celebrated some significant births for conservation programmes including critically endangered Amur Leopard and Amur Tiger cubs and Painted Dog pups.
The latest birth in the growing animal collection is a baby anteater.
“We think it is a great coincidence that our tenth birthday falls in English Tourism Week,” said CEO John Minion.
“The park has gone from strength to strength thanks to the support of the dedicated staff team, the local community and all the people who have visited the park over the past ten years.”
Yorkshire Wildlife Park makes a considerable contribution to the local economy of circa £12m every year and employs over 200 people.
As well as playing a major part in conservation projects worldwide, the park is also a great resource for education and last year welcomed 88,000 school children and students.
Through the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation charity which is based at the park, funds raised have supported conservation and welfare projects around the world – on every continent apart from Antarctica.
Reinvestment and continually improving visitor experience have been key to the park’s development. There are plans for a major expansion as groundworks have begun on the 150-acre site adjacent to the park which was secured last year. This significant investment of £50m will create around 300 jobs for the local community and include new animal reserves, visitor hub with hotel, restaurants and leisure shopping.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park is also home to the charity, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation, which was created to be a dynamic catalyst for inspiring people to support conservation and welfare.
YWPF’s charitable objectives are to promote and advance the conservation and welfare of endangered wildlife both in their natural habitat and in captivity and to educate and inspire the public. The charity supports a number of conservation projects in the wild through funding and expertise including Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA), The Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Save the Rhino and more recently Polar Bear International.