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Highland Wildlife Park's Hamish the polar bear to move to a new home


By Gavin Musgrove

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Hamish with mum Victoria at the Highland Wildlife Park. Picture: RZSS
Hamish with mum Victoria at the Highland Wildlife Park. Picture: RZSS

The first polar bear cub born in the UK this century is expected to be relocated.

Hamish was born at the Highland Wildlife Park by Kincraig in December 2017 and has proved to be a hugely popular arrival.

The cub shares a large enclosure with his mother Victoria but is now approaching the age when they would separate naturally in the wild.

The move will also allow 23-year-old Victoria to breed again next year and produce another cub, possibly for the last time due to her age.

The attraction is also home to two males polar bears Arktos and Walker who have become great friends.

Hamish larking about at the Highland Wildlife Park where he has boosted visitors numbers until the closure caused by coronavirus.
Hamish larking about at the Highland Wildlife Park where he has boosted visitors numbers until the closure caused by coronavirus.

David Field, new chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs the wildlife park, said Hamish will go to a collection elsewhere in Europe where he can mix with other males.

He said: “There are a number of options including in the UK.

“Victoria’s biological clock is ticking and the experts who run the polar bear breeding programme would want her to breed once again.”

An RZSS spokeswoman said no home had been identified yet but they would keep Strathy readers and local wildlife park visitors up-to-date on Hamish's move.

Mr Field said this past week both the wildlife park and Edinburgh Zoo are struggling to survive the economic consequences of coronavirus and need to re-open ASAP.

The charity has already borrowed £5 million to keep going in the short term.

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