The UK's Oldest Polar Bear Has Sadly Died
The UK's oldest polar bear has sadly passed away after falling ill on Friday (21 August).
Victor, who was 22 years old, resided at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Although the vets put up a fight, the bear suffered from kidney failure, leaving the park no other choice but to put him to sleep.
The staff have said they are 'deeply saddened' at Victor's death, leaving a sad farewell on the park's official Facebook page.
The post reads: "Victor has left a huge paw print on many people's hearts and played a huge role in the European breeding programme.
"He was father to 13 cubs and has many grandchildren around the world so his legacy will live on for years to come.
"He will be greatly missed by everyone, especially his dedicated team of animal rangers."
The spokesperson added: "Victor spent his days enjoying the lakes and expansive habitat in Project Polar, one of the largest reserves in the world. He was joined by four other polar bears over the following five years.
"The directors of Yorkshire Wildlife Park would like to thank the veterinary team from Portland House Veterinary Group who responded so quickly and who have worked and supported staff in caring for Victor since he arrived in Yorkshire.
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"The park would also like to thank the dedicated staff team who have loved and cared for Victor since his arrival and who are saddened at the loss of one who was a favourite at the park for staff and visitors alike.
"Victor was a great ambassador for his species, inspiring generations and drawing attention to the plight of his species in the wild and the threat of climate change.
"He will be greatly missed by everyone."
In July 2014, Yorkshire Wildlife Park opened a 10-acre enclosure for polar bears named Project Polar and took in Victor as its first resident.
Park director John Minion said at the time of the move: "He's actually the most prolific breeder across Europe, so most polar bears in Europe are probably his children."
Because of this, Victor was retired aged 15, leaving him to enjoy his new home - which came complete with an eight-metre-deep lake and swathes of grassland, designed to replicate the Arctic tundra in summer.
He was joined by four other polar bears over the following five years, who will no doubt be missing their pal just as much as the park staff are. RIP Victor.
Featured Image Credit: Yorkshire Wildlife Park
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