Hokkaido’s endangered Ussuri bears find a new home at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

A Ussuri brown bear in a bear ranch in Hokkaido waves its paw at visitors. (Image by Vanessal/Shutterstock)

Four of Hokkaido’s endangered Ussuri brown bears – Riku, Kai, Hanako and Amu – have safely migrated to their new home in the United Kingdom’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park, transported with utmost care during the 9,000km journey by DHL Global Forwarding.

The endangered Ussuri brown bear, also known as the black grizzly bear, is found in many regions in the world but they are extinct across parts of Asia. Reported to be 10,000 left in Japan, the bears are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to their vulnerability to habitat loss, illegal hunting and capture, and being poached for body parts and skins.

Each Ussuri brown bear can weigh up to 550kg and requires temperatures to be maintained as closely as possible to their native climate in northern Japan and Korea. As such, purpose-built crates that could fit into the aircraft were produced for each of the bears to ensure they were comfortable throughout the trip.

DHL Global Forwarding worked closely with the Park to plan and orchestrate the complex voyage, optimizing and customizing transport routes and modes respectively. The company also provided expedited customs clearance for the bears’ arrival in London while Park staff managed final leg of the journey from the airport to their new home.

The bears, ranging from 17 to 27 years old, will spend the rest of their lives in the care of expert handlers at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, a world leader in endangered species welfare which also hosts one of the largest polar bear conservation projects in the world.

“Spacious, temperature-controlled environments were a necessity for the bears’ welfare along the voyage,” said John Minion, CEO, Yorkshire Wildlife Park. “The bears will be the first residents in a new Rehabilitation Centre at the Park – a 2.5-acre specialist reserve which has been designed for short to mid-term housing of carnivores who have been rehomed – before moving into their permanent home at the Park. We are excited to prepare the bears for their new home where they will receive the lifelong care they need.”

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