Tongki Moving to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in November

Everland has announced that, in collaboration with Polar Bears International, it will be sending Korea’s sole captive polar bear, Tongki, to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in England by November.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park is a world-class wildlife conservation park in the north of England. Their 40,000m2 (10 acres) polar bear habitat—built to reflect the summer Arctic tundra—is one of their flagship projects. The space is already home to four other polar bears and boasts several lakes, the largest covering 6,500m2.

While we are thrilled by this news, especially as we’ve been following the plight of Tongki for several months, we have a few requests.

  1. For polar bears, summer is extremely difficult to live through, and Tongki is now nearly 80 years old in human years. From our visits and inspections, it’s obvious that Tongki was unhappy in the poor environment provided by Everland. Please, Everland, give Tongki the best care to prevent any impairments to his health and welfare before his transfer to England.
  2. Everland had also stated that it “plans not to bring additional polar bears to the park.” To prevent falling short on this promise, please make a clear, official announcement that you will not import or display any more polar bears.
  3. We hope Everland continues to cease importing captive animals for display and reconsiders the displaying of animals as an anachronistic practice. This not only applies to polar bears but also to all the other captive animals currently on display at Everland.

Tongki, a native of the Arctic, has been without friends and family in South Korea since 2015. We had been constantly campaigning about the unsuitability of polar bears for display in South Korea, and terrible living conditions for Tongki at Everland, holding a press conference last July to bring his plight to the public’s attention and demanding improvements to his living conditions.

Although it is a relief that Tongki will finally find a more suitable home in England, this was something that simply had to be done, and is long overdue.

CARE will be keeping an eye on Everland to make sure it keeps its word.

Featured Image: Yorkshire Wildlife Park

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