A colourful evening at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

We first visited Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) a few months after I retired, and have returned several times since I have some reservations about keeping wild creatures in captivity (don’t we all?), but the place seems OK. The animals are plainly well cared for, with plenty of space to roam. Importantly, the Park supports a number of conservation initiatives to breed highly endangered species in captivity, and seeks to educate visitors about their plight. I’ll write more about some of these conservation projects later in the year.

To help raise the money needed to care for its animals YWP is always looking for new ways to encourage visitors. Last year we’d planned to visit the Park’s Light and Lantern Festival held around Christmas, but Covid restrictions got in the way. This year the restrictions have been, well, less restrictive…but the weather was miserable throughout December, so we gave it a miss.

Finally, last week, conditions improved and we made the decision to hot-foot it 45 miles (72km) up the M1 to the outskirts of Doncaster to catch the Festival before it ends in mid-January. It was definitely worth the trip, as Mrs P’s photos show. With the exception of one hyena, which was racing madly around its spacious enclosure like Usain Bolt in his prime, living animals were notable by their absence. I suspect they were all sleeping peacefully in their dens and nests, blissfully unaware of the numerous visitors trekking round the Park, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the spectacular illuminations.

The lanterns celebrate many of the animals living at the Park – including lions, leopards and okapi – and some that don’t. A T-Rex and sundry other dinosaurs paid homage to animals that none of us will ever see in the flesh. Let’s hope that the conservation initiatives supported by YWP, and similar bodies throughout the UK and beyond, mean that the species currently living there won’t suffer a similar fate to that of the dearly departed dinos.

16 comments

  1. Laurie Graves · January 12

    Really nice! Must have been so much fun to go to the festival. I especially like the last photo.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Platypus Man · January 12

      The last photo is lanterns depicting two okapi. The great news is that at the end of November the Park’s resident okapi had their first baby. Okapi are very rare in the wild, so captive breeding is important to their survival. I’m looking forward to seeing the youngster later in the year.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah, Another Blogger · January 12

    This is a nicely-done display. And it reminds me that I haven’t been to the Philadelphia Zoo in ages. I live near Philadelphia. Its zoo is the oldest in the States.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paddy Tobin · January 12

    A very imaginative display.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 13

      Yes, they did a good job and all the visitors seemed impressed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paddy Tobin · January 13

        The Zoo in Dublin has had an excellent lights display in recent years though I have never travelled to see it.

        Like

  4. The June Journal · January 13

    The Light and Lantern Festival was amazing! The pictures are incredible beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 13

      Yes, we had a great evening. Mrs P says thank you for your lovely comments about her photos!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. shazza · January 13

    That looks like a great way of raising funds for the park. Beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 14

      Yes, their income must have suffered during the lockdowns, and initiatives like this boost finances while cheering up the visitors. Everyone’s a winner!

      Like

  6. Adele Brand · January 22

    That’s some very attractive art! And interesting comment about the hyena actually – I thought Colchester Zoo was the only UK establishment to have them. I might have to visit YWP and see their hyenas and other residents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · January 23

      Definitely worth a visit if you’re up this way. Allow at least half a day, longer if possible, to fully appreciate the animals.

      Liked by 1 person

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