South Yorkshire zoo bid to save 'Mexican' polar bearContinue reading the main story
A wildlife park in South Yorkshire has announced plans to rescue a polar bear from a zoo in Mexico.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, has offered to rehome Yupi in a newly constructed 10 acre reserve but needs to raise £150,000 to do so.
A park spokesperson said Yupi was currently kept in a concrete enclosure in soaring temperatures, with "little shade and little stimulation".
The park is waiting for an official response to its offer to rehome Yupi.
- Five nations have polar bear populations: the United States, Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.
- Adult male polar bears can weigh up to 1,200lbs (550kg), while adult females may weigh as much as 650lbs (290kg)
- Biologists estimate there are 20,000 to 25,000 bears left in the wild
- Source: Polar Bears International
It would mean a move of more 5,500 miles (8,900 km) away from Mexico for the polar bear.
According to the Save Yupi website, Yupi is 22 years old and was brought to the Parque Zoológico Benito Juárez, in Morelia, Mexico, from Alaska in 1992.
A Yorkshire Wildlife Park spokesperson said: "Her concrete enclosure has little shade, and little stimulation.
"The soaring temperatures are difficult for a polar bear to deal with as they easily overheat."
The park, which rescued 13 lions from Romania in 2010, began work on the new enclosure after being approached to see if it would offer a home to Yupi.
The reserve will be divided into four sections featuring hills, valleys and a main lake with streams, pools and waterfalls.
Its landscaping will mirror the Arctic Tundra with grass, herbs, shrubs and heathers.
It is expected to be completed in 2014.
The only other polar bears in a UK zoo are at the Highland Wildlife Park, in Scotland.
Park Director John Minion said: "This is the ultimate project for Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
"Polar bears are an iconic species that are increasingly threatened in their native habitat and we need to fight their cause."