A north wildlife park has bid farewell to one of its most iconic characters which has attracted thousands of visitors.
Hamish, the first polar bear cub to be born in the UK for 25 years, is leaving the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kingussie, to begin his new life at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
He will leave the Highlands tomorrow as he begins his journey into adulthood as part of a European initiative to protect endangered species.
The beloved bear, born on December 18, 2017, first emerged from his cubbing den in March 2018 and soon became one of the main draws in attracting visitors to the park.
Keepers have said he will be missed, however, they feel the time is right for him to depart from mum Victoria.
Rachel Williams, senior animal keeper at Highland Wildlife Park, said: “It has been an incredible two-and-a-half years watching Hamish grow. He is a very playful bear who will be missed by everyone here at the park.
“Hamish has made a tremendous impression on the thousands of people who visited the park since his birth and helped to highlight the threats many species face in the wild.
“It is exciting to see him moving on and playing his part in the European Endangered Species Programme.”
The relocation takes place around the same age cubs would leave their mothers in the wild, with keepers hoping that despite a wait of 25 years for the first UK born bear, the next might not be so far away.
Miss Williams added: “We’re sure Victoria will appreciate some peace and quiet before any next steps in the breeding programme.
“All being well, we hope to pair her with Arktos again next year.”
Over the past two-and-a-half years, visitors have been treated to some amusing and heart-warming sights, with Hamish even getting a barrel stuck on his head whilst playing.
The park will still have three polar bears with two males, Arktos and Walker, kept separate from Victoria.
Other draws include snow leopards, amur tigers, wolverine and arctic foxes and Scottish wildlife such as the wildcat and capercaillie.