The Princess and the Bear

September 19, 2012 § Leave a comment


Yesterday, HRH The Princess Royal made a visit to the Highland Wildlife Park in Inverness-shire to officially recognise the Park’s 40th anniversary year and lend a hand to feed polar bear boys Walker and Arktos.

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As royal patron to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) since 2009, the charity that owns and manages Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park, The Princess Royal has been a great supporter of the organisation and its conservation, research and educational work.

During her visit The Princess Royal unveiled a commemorative 40th anniversary plaque at the Park and met with some of the Society’s patrons, as well as meeting a few of the Park’s animals – including polar bears, Walker and Arktos, who received their feed with a helping hand from HRH The Princess Royal.

During her visit, The Princess Royal also visited five new arrivals to a 2,000m² European grey wolf enclosure called Wolf Wood, which she officially opened on 8th September 2010. Four months ago keepers at the Park were delighted when quintuplet pups were born to mum Elara and dad Puika on 25th May 2012.

On hand to welcome her royal highness to the Highland Wildlife Park was her Lord Lieutenant the Rt. Honourable Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Jeremy Peat, chair of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Professor Chris West CEO of RZSS, Iain Valentine director or research and conservation for RZSS, Douglas Richardson, animal collection manager for the Highland Wildlife Park and Daska Mackintosh, commercial services manager for the Highland Wildlife Park.

Chris West, Chief Executive of RZSS, said:

“The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland is honoured to have the support and patronage of HRH The Princess Royal.

“With this being an extra special visit to mark the 40th anniversary – a great milestone in the Park’s history – HRH unveiled a commemorative plaque to celebrate the occasion.

“The official visit was a chance for HRH The Princess Royal to visit many of the endangered animal species that can be found at Highland Wildlife Park. Particularly, it was truly a delight to introduce two very special animal residents of the Park to HRH The Princess Royal, Walker and Arktos, the two young male polar bears who share a large five acre enclosure together.

“As well as helping to feed these two impressive bears, HRH also had the opportunity to hear more about the important ongoing conservation, research and education work the Society is undertaking.

 “I speak on behalf of the Society to say that we are delighted to have HRH The Princess Royal as an ambassador for our charitable organisation.”

The 200 acre Park was first created in the early 70s by a group of private individuals who wanted to establish a collection of Scottish wildlife, past and present. The Highland Wildlife Park now also houses cold weather adapted animals from around the world and is the only place in the UK where you can see polar bears.

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