The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is starting the New Year by recruiting more than a hundred new staff.
The recruitment drive is needed thanks to YWP’s ambitious expansion plans for 2014.
These include a new 600 sq m retail area - Safari Village outside the main park - with a cafe.
As well as substantially upgrading the park’s own shopping facility, local businesses will also be able to rent five units to sell their own products.
Meanwhile, visitor numbers are expected to increase with the arrival of at least one polar bear in the Spring after launching Project Polar an appeal to help rescue a bear enduring cruel conditions in Mexico.
Director Cheryl Williams said:”With all our plans for 2014 there is no doubt we need extra staff.
“We are delighted to be in a position to be recruiting staff and supporting our local community.”
YWP, UK’s fastest growing and most innovative walk through attraction, is holding a recruitment open day this Saturday, January 18 from 8am - 10.30am. Job hunters will be offered the chance to find out about working at YWP and apply for 113 positions for the 2014 main season, mainly from March to October.
They include catering assistants, chefs, education assistants, leisure assistants, visitor service assistants, kitchen manager, catering supervisors and a retail merchandiser.
At the open morning there will be a stall for each category of vacancy and position.
Attendees will each receive a pack containing an application form and details of the vacancy at YWP, located in Branton just outside Doncaster.
YWP Director, Cheryl Williams said: “2013 was another record year - with 440,000 visitors.
“I would like to thank all the visitors – many of whom who enjoyed our unique walk through animal experience more than once – for helping us achieve such success.
“Most people just think about working with animals, which is a highly specialised area of work, but in fact there are seasonal posts in many different areas. We have never had so many positions on offer. It means in the summer for the first time we will have 200 staff working for us.”
The innovative park only opened in April 2009 and attracted 66,000 visitors in the first year. Numbers are now almost 600 per cent higher and YWP has delivered a significant boost to tourism for Yorkshire since opening, generating a remarkable £4.4m to the region.
Work on the new retail development is scheduled to be completed in March.
Meanwhile, the construction of the new polar bear reserve is underway. The park has already raised £10,000 towards the cost of rescuing a polar bear from soaring temperatures and a concrete enclosure in Mexico.
Yupi could be the first resident of the spectacular new ten acre polar bear reserve if her release can be negotiated.
YWP is aiming to raise £150,000 towards the project which will be a centre for Polar Bear conservation as well as for polar bears in need of rescuing.
The park, which rescued a pride of lions from Romania 3 years ago, decided to build the centre after being approached to see if they would offer a home to Yupi from Morelia Zoo.
Since then YWP has been consulting with experts worldwide to bring polar bears back to the UK for the first time in many years. There are no other polar bears in England. Yupi has been at Morelia since 1992, after being captured in the wild as a cub.
Her concrete enclosure has virtually no shade, and offers little stimulation . The soaring temperatures are difficult for a polar bear – the world largest carnivore and a vulnerable species - to deal with as they easily overheat. Campaigners have been trying to encourage the zoo to move her to a more appropriate home for many years.
YWP has also been liaising with the European breeding programme for Polar bears and is expecting the arrival of a young male bear.
Cheryl Williams said: ”We will concentrate on bears which are not currently required in the breeding programme or have been retired from it.”
YWP brings families almost face to face with some of the world’s most beautiful - and at risk - species. All year round Yorkshire Wildlife Park gives visitors unrivalled access to an impressive animal collection, including the famous lions rescued from Romania, the Giraffes, endangered Amur Tigers, Leopards and Painted Hunting Dogs.
Anyone interested in any of the vacancies should just turn up on the day.
For further information please visit the YWP website or for specific queries email firstname.lastname@example.org