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Snow much fun: Polar bears are treated to their favourite toys by highways crews this Christmas

Santa Paws has come for Staffordshire’s resident polar bears this Christmas and delivered a sleigh full of their favourite toys – traffic cones. 


Eight-year-old Hope the polar bear and her two twin cubs, Nanook and Noori, arrived at Peak Wildlife Park near Leek back in June. 


Do they snow it’s Christmas? Probably not but, as all three bears made the nice list this year, highways crew members from Staffordshire County Council’s Leek depot donated around 50 traffic cones to the wildlife park on Monday 18 December. 


The donated cones are all damaged and will be recycled when the polar bears are finished playing with them. 


Head Zookeeper at Peak Wildlife Park, Yaz Walker, said: “We’ve had a lovely donation of traffic cones for our polar bears and they absolutely love them, it’s fantastic. They’re very playful animals and the cones make great toys because they can squish them, they can throw them around, they make fantastic hats and the bears just really like them.” 


Shortly after the cones were placed in the spacious polar bear enclosure, Hope and her two curious cubs were seen enjoying their gifts by throwing them in the air, diving after them in the water, crushing them and – to the amusement of onlookers – putting their faces inside them. 


The bears were relocated to a five-acre habitat at Peak Wildlife Park near Leek back in June after their previous home – the Orsa Predator Park in Sweden – closed. 


David Williams, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Staffordshire County Council, said: “Back in September, we delivered a truckload of damaged cones to Peak Wildlife Park so they could be repurposed as toys to welcome Staffordshire’s newest furry residents. 


“After the incredible reaction we saw from the bears, we knew we had to come back and treat them again for their first Christmas here.  


“Our highways teams are dedicated to helping their local communities and have been working around the clock to keep our roads safe in the icy weather this winter. They jumped at the opportunity to give a new lease of life to traffic cones that had reached the end of their usefulness and do something good for the wildlife park.” 


Over the past year, Staffordshire County Council’s highways teams repaired more than 16,000 potholes across the county and completed nearly one million square miles of surface dressing. 


Although crews are working around the clock to keep Staffordshire’s roads safe and gritted this winter, they are still out and about making repairs to the network. 


Residents are encouraged to report any defects using the ‘Report It’ function on the county council’s website. 


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