Hamish, the first polar bear to be born in the UK in 25 years, has started a 400-mile journey to his new home at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s Project Polar habitat.
The cub had been sharing an enclosure with his mum, Victoria, in the Scottish Highlands, since his birth in 2017 at Highland Wildlife Park, near Aviemore, reports the Guardian.
Thousands of people have visited the park to catch a glimpse of Hamish, but the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) had plans to relocate him once he was old enough to leave his doting mother.
RZSS had announced earlier this year that the cub would be moving to the Project Polar habitat after a recommendation from the European Endangered Species Programme.
Rachel Williams, the senior animal keeper at Highland Wildlife Park, said: “In the wild, polar bear cubs will stay with their mothers for two to three years, so this is a natural time for Hamish to be moving on.”
“We’re sure Victoria will appreciate some peace and quiet before any next steps in the breeding programme.”
Hamish’s father, Arktos, lives in an enclosure in another part of the Scottish park, and Williams said Victoria and Arktos could be “paired up” again next year.
Hamish travelled by road on a seven-hour journey to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster.
Dr Matt Hartley, Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s head of animals, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Hamish to Project Polar where he will join our other male bears.
“Our expansive reserves allow social interaction, play, exploration and behavioural development that is vital for bear wellbeing.”
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