Fantastic animal photos mark a year at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

It's not been all bad over the past year, as these stunning photos from the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster clearly show.

Here we celebrate the important work they do at the park, and its wonderful animals, in this pictorial review of 2021, when YWP was one of the few venues that could open to visitors when so many remained closed, due to the pandemic.

January

It wasn't not too cold for The Amur Tiger, also known as the Siberian Tiger, which is the largest big cat in the world!

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    Tiger in the snow by Tal Chohan:

    Amur Tiger numbers have dropped to as low as 20-30 individuals. However, international awareness and conservation programs have helped to push their numbers back to above 500 in the wild.

    February

    It's Valentine's month, and the mischievous meerkats wanted to be part of it! These small mammals belong to the mongoose family and live in tight-knit groups called mobs or gangs.

    You’ll often see them standing up on their hind legs, very still, looking out for predators.

    March

    In March, the park saw baby Roloway Monkey, Kumasi, celebrate his first birthday (Photo: David Roberts)

    According to the international Zoo Database, the birth of the baby Roloway monkey was the first of its kind in the UK and a major triumph for the European breeding programme – only three babies were born in zoos worldwide in 2021.

    Roloway Monkeys are one of the world’s most endangered primates! The striking black and white Roloway monkey is native to Ghana in West Africa.

    Yorkshire Wildlife Park are home to a really important male and female pair from the European breeding programme. These monkeys are on the verge of extinction in the wild.

    April

    It was an extra special Easter as Yorkshire Wildlife finally reopened their gates, to the delight of the public.

    Visitors flocked to the award-winning park through its brand-new entrance and tried out the Atlantic Forest, Point lobos and The Hive, a new shopping, dining and entertainment destination.

    May

    This was the month that the sea lions moved in to their new home, Point Lobos, the largest purpose-built habitat of its kind in the world!

    This unique world-class reserve showcases two naturalistic lakes featuring varying water depths, authentic sandy shorelines, sheltered caves, grass banks and rocky beaches.

    The reserve is home to a family of Californian Sea Lions, who can stay under water for up to 10 minutes at a time.

    They are extremely strong swimmers and can reach speeds of nearly 20 miles per hour in the water. In November, HRH the Earl of Wessex officially opened their habitat.

    June

    Flocke, aged 12, and her triplets – males Indiana, (known as Indie) and Yuma, and tiny female Tala were new arrivals from France in June.

    They brought the park’s polar bear total up to eight, which makes Project Polar the largest polar bear centre outside Canada.

    Project Polar is a dynamic project that brings together Polar bear welfare, conservation and awareness and research to benefit the species in the wild and advance welfare in zoos and wildlife parks.

    July

    July saw the end of all UK lockdown restrictions so there was no need to social distance at this birthday party! Jambo the Giraffe celebrated being 12 in style, with his friends Jengo and Palle by his side.

    August

    A relaxed lion sunset safari in the height of summer.

    The three prides of African lions were rescued from Romania in 2010. The African Lion is the second largest big cat after the Tiger and typically lives in groups of 10 to 15 called prides.

    September 

    You’ll find this stunning red panda as you hike through the ‘Himalayan Pass', home to sisters Alice, Ariel and Aurora.

    The Red Panda trio were born in June 2019 and live in the ‘Himalayan Pass’ reserve. They all have their favourite spot to sleep high up in the trees.

    Despite their species name, Red Pandas are not closely related to the Giant Panda – they are most closely related to Weasels and Racoons.

    October 

    Yorkshire Wildlife Park welcomed Pablo in the autumn. The baby red howler monkey was born in October and spent the next few months clinging tightly to his mum, while being supervised by park keepers.

    Pablo, by Mark Dinnage

    His mum and dad, Geronimo, both brightly coloured and vocal Venezuelan Red Howlers (Alouatta seniculus), only arrived at the park earlier last year.

    Red Howler Monkey males have a huge part to play in the rearing of young in their groups, and Pablo has already been seen interacting a lot with his dad, Geronimo.

    November 

    There were super celebrations for Alex’s ninth birthday. The Giant Otter reserve at Yorkshire Wildlife Park was officially opened by Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington in March 2016.

    This purpose-built habitat consists of a deep natural lake, grassy embankments and an indoor house with rock pools and specially adapted climate control.

    December 

    The year was concluded with some festive fun at the annual winter illuminations. Guests escaped into an enchanting world full of lights and lanterns, which was a magical experience for all.

    Photo courtesy Yorkshire Wildlife ParkThe spectacular Yorkshire Wildlife Illuminations light up the park.