Jimmy Doherty, off of Jimmy’s Farm, will soon open the doors to Europe’s largest polar bear reserve, in Suffolk of all places. The reserve will be based within a 16-acre habitat for rescued polar bears, as well as other tundra species such as reindeer, artic wolves, and arctic foxes.
The project will be an extension of the existing Jimmy’s Farm & Wildlife Park in Ipswich, which is home to a number of exotic species and rare breeds in need of rescue and/or protection. The reserve, which they’ve named the Lost Lands of the Tundra, will offer a first look at the polar bear reserve when it opens to the public this weekend, October 21.
Of course, the new reserve at Jimmy’s Farm & Wildlife Park will closely mimic the bear’s natural habitat, with ample woodland, grassy plains, natural springs and large lakes and pools. People are generally under the impression that polar bears live in extremely cold temperatures but actually, most bears don’t live in ice all year round. In fact, Hudson Bay in Canada—dubbed Polar Bear Capital of the World—has average temperatures of 26 degrees. For context, the average temperature in Suffolk is 22 degrees.
That said, shrinking ice caps and consequently shorter polar ice seasons due to climate change are obviously a major conservational concern, and representatives of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group alongside Polar Bears International are now stressing the important role that modern zoos and wildlife parks have to play in how things play out from now. After all, under the care of specialist teams, endangered species have a much better chance of survival.
The reserve’s first resident has arrived from Orsa Rovdjurspark zoo in Sweden that was sadly closing down: 18 year-old polar bear Ewa. Staff were ordered to find a new home for Ewa and all of the other animals, or else they would be put to sleep. Ewa will join a herd of reindeer, and the largest pack of artic wolves in the UK, which includes a pup called Neville.
Jimmy’s Farm & Wildlife Park is also hoping to raise enough funds to rescue a gorgeous brown bear called Diego from the same zoo that Ewa has been transferred from. With our help, they can build him a world class enclosure at the Suffolk reserve. You can help to give Diego the best chance at survival here.
The aim of the new reserve, and of Jimmy’s Farm as a whole, is to rescue rare, protected and endangered species, and to inspire younger generations to learn about and protect earth’s native and exotic creatures. The Lost Lands of the Tundra hopes to “highlight the importance of one of the world’s most beautiful but fastest disappearing habitats”.
The reserve will open to the public on Saturday, October 21. You can book tickets on the Jimmy’s Farm website.
Also published on Medium.