|Victor enjoys his Project Polar home.|
Serving as the elder statesman of polar bears at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in the UK, Victor is enjoying his retirement in the company of an unusual polar bear group, with Victor and three younger males sharing several large rambling habitats.
|The rocky slopes of Project Polar.|
|Victor roaming along the lake|
|Victor on the rolling rocky hillside|
Victor has spent most of his life in Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands, where he first shared quarters with older polar bear lady Vera (21), who gave birth to his son Rocky in the fall of 2002, when Victor was just four years old. (Rocky now lives in a zoo in Belgium with Blanche and their daughter Qannik born in 2011.)
2002 was a very busy year at Ouwehands Zoo. In March, mother polar bear Huggies returned to Rhenen from her stay in Sweden, with her 4 month old daughter Freedom. In August, just before Rocky was born, Victor was sent to the Amsterdam Zoo, where he lived for a year in a very sad bear pit, to allow Huggies room to care for her cub. In December, shortly after Victor left, Vera gave birth to Rocky.
I don't have a lot of information about Vera, just that she was born in 1981, and died at age 27 in 2008 in Skandanavisk Dyreparke in Kolind, Denmark, which opened their polar bear habitat in 2006. Rocky was her only cub, I believe.
|Freedom with cubs|
|Huggies with one of Freedom's cubs at Ouwehands Zoo|
In 2005, Huggies created a sensation in Ouwehands when she gave birth to triplets, Henk, Ewa and Jelle, all three named after keepers. Henk is now in Nuenen, the Netherlands, Ewa is in Orsa in Sweden, and Jelle is in St. Felicien in Canada.
|Henk, one of the triplets, now in Nuenen|
|Sprinter, on top, inherited the fierce large head |
of Victor's father Churchill.
He now lives in Hannover Germany with his friend Nanuq
|Walker on the right, with his friend Arktos |
in Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland
So by summer of 2010, it was just Victor, Huggies and Freedom at Ouwehands.
Eventually, these four cubs grew up on went on their way. Sesi moved to Mulhouse in France and Siku became Taiko and went to LaFleche in France. Lynn moved to Vienna and then to Copenhagen. Luka went to Wuppertal in Germany.
|Victor's son Luka in Wuppertal|
|Akiak and Sura with mom Freedom|
Victor has grandchildren too.
Henk fathered Pixel and Noordje, who were born in 2012, and Nickie and Simona, born in 2015, in Nuenen, with Frimas as Mom. Five year old Pixel now lives in YWP with his granddad Victor.
|Two of Victor's companions at YWP are his grandson Pixel, on the left, |
and Russian bear Nisson, on the right.
|Victor's daughter Sesi, with his granddaughter Nanuq|
|Young Nobby carefully approaches Victor|
|Victor with a chunk of meat. Nobby sniffs, then walks away.|
He would never steal meat from Victor.
|Victor chases after Nobby.|
|Victor catching up with Nobby|
|Victor at the lake.|
|Victor with his keepers. Sometimes he likes to be inside.|
The bears can choose to be out and about, or to be in the nighttime shelter, whenever they like. There are often ducks to chase, and many good things to eat and play with are hidden here and there by the keepers. Life is good in retirement.
|Victor on the move.|
|Taking a stroll through Project Polar.|
The habitat resembles the Canadian Tundra with its terrain and plants.