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This week our South Yorkshire Masterclass was in the Yorkshire Wildlife Park concluding with a talk and videos from Cheryl Williams one of our Entrepreneurs in Residence.

What an achievement

Last time we went to the Wildlife Park, which was not long after it had opened in 2009, the first year attendees were 66,000. In 2017 they had 761,000 visitors. Their first ambition was to be “The Best Regional Attraction”; now it is to be the “Best Destination”.

Lions and Polar Bears

The project really got going in 2010 when they rescued 13 lions from a run down zoo in Romania. They were in a terrible condition and one or two have since died, but the rest looked in great shape and we were lucky enough that they fed the lions when we there and so they were walking about.

They brought the first polar bears to England in 2015 and have plans to bring more.

The Future

Is very exciting. They have bought another 150 acres, have organised £50m and are going to expand the breeds and numbers of animals as well as building a hotel and visitor centre.

They are connected to many worldwide wildlife organisations and are involved in helping to rescue declining breeds which will be a big part of their future plans.

Nick Butler