Having been blessed with a whole host of amazing documentaries over the years, the animal kingdom has become more and more accessible with each passing season.
We’ve been all over the world, usually accompanied by our travel guide David Attenborough’s dulcet tones, without ever leaving our sofas.
Now, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park has brought that world to us and what a world it is.
This award-winning attraction is more than just your average wildlife park, if anything it’s a wildlife sanctuary and is home to some of the most endangered animals in the world. This doesn’t mean they are locked away and over-protected, far from it in fact. Their spacious home allows them to thrive in their new environments and has ample viewing opportunities for you to watch them as they go about their daily routines.
The park covers 260 acres, with over 400 animals across 70 different species so it’s safe to say, there is a lot to see. That being said, there is no right or wrong way to travel around the park – the animal kingdom has never been so accessible, and you can choose your own path on this amazing, animal adventure.
New to the park and following in the footsteps, or pawprints, of their wintry cousins are the clan of Ussuri brown bears. Riku, Kai and Hanako are now the first residents of the new animal rehabilitation centre, having made the 5,400-mile journey from cramped cages in Japan to a 4-acre home with two animal houses; offering them way more than just the bear necessities.
You can also get closer to the animals than ever before, even walking amongst them in certain areas. We’ve all seen some popular culture reference to the film Madagascar and, in particular, King Julian, so walking amongst a group of larger than life ring-tailed lemurs from the magnificent island itself is a real treat.
Ambling through their home, the first thing you will notice about these cute, yet cheeky, little critters is their striking bright eyes and long bushy tails – the latter of which are used for communication and when engaged in a ‘stink battle’.
Getting up close and personal with the animals is a key factor of the park’s success and you can also experience walking through South American Viva – where you will meet some sassy squirrel monkeys and other furry friends and wander through Wallaby Walkabout – where you can make friends with joeys.
As in the wild, meerkats and mongoose live side by side in their very own manor that has replicated their natural habitat. Unlike others you may know, these meerkats won’t have you comparing the market looking for other places to go, once you visit Yorkshire Wildlife Park, nothing else compares.
Another relatively new addition to the YWP family, are a couple of Okapi, Nuru and Ruby. These two fascinating creatures are often referred to as ‘Forest Giraffes’ due to their zebra-like stripes and giraffe-esque tongues.
Endangered in their native rainforests of Central Africa, it is hoped that Nura and Ruby will be able to bolster the population of this beautiful species within the European breeding programme.
An often-overlooked part of the park – due to the fact that they are the smaller members of the park’s ever-growing family, are the creepy crawlies. With the Big Bug live show, you will embark on a 25-minute educational adventure that stretches all over the globe to explore the fascinating world of giant insects, arachnids, arthropods.
Deadly Bugs, on the other hand, is not for the faint of heart and shows you some of the secrets behind some of earth’s scariest bugs.
Regardless of your preference of animal, cuddly or creepy crawly, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park – possibly without meaning to – offers a deeper look at life itself, a microcosm of the earth and how, when all species lives with and around each other, it makes for something pretty special.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s winter season sees the park open at 10.00am and close at 4.00pm; with last entry at 3.00pm. Prices vary and are available here.