Press Invite: Be among the first to see the rescued bears at Wildwood
Wildwood Trust, Kent’s unique British Wildlife park and conservation charity is inviting members of the press to come and see their two rescued Bulgarian bears in their new enclosure on Friday 7th November.
Staff, volunteers and supporters of the Trust have been working frantically in the last few weeks to complete the specially designed quarantine enclosure and raise enough money to rescue the bears from their lives of misery they become trapped by the harsh Bulgarian winter.
We are now pleased to announce that we have raised the necessary funds and are sending a specialised team to Bulgaria to rescue the bears and escort them on their 1,600 mile journey to their new woodland home at Wildwood.
Peter Smith, Wildwood’s CEO said “It would seem as if the whole of Kent has rallied to our call to rescue the bears. We would like to thank all of our donors, members and supporters for their support and amazing generosity; without them we wouldn’t have had a hope of saving the bears.”
But this is not the end of the story. In fact, the arrival of the bears at Wildwood is just the start of their journey to recovery which will require even more time, money and dedication from the Wildwood team.
Due to the extremely high costs of looking after animals such as bears, Wildwood has taken a staggered approach to their rescue and rehabilitation. After raising the initial £50,000 needed to rescue the animals and build their quarantine enclosure, the Trust now needs to raise the funds to give them the happy, healthy lives they so desperately need.
After enduring lives of terrible neglect and suffering, the bears will require months, if not years, of costly care and rehabilitation to bring them back to full physical and mental health. This will begin as soon as the bears arrive at the park with health screening, worming and vaccinations, and extensive dentistry work to rebuild their teeth. Wildwood will also need to find funds for regular vet check-ups and monitoring of their condition whilst in quarantine.
And the expense is expected to continue for years to come. Key to the successful rehabilitation of the bears will be their woodland enclosure; which needs to be constructed during the 4-month quarantine period. Wildwood now faces the challenge of raising enough money to construct a natural woodland enclosure which will meet the mental and physical needs of the animals now and in the future, including a moving water feature that will allow the bears to experience flowing water for the first time.
Jon May, Wildwood’s park manager said: “We are extremely excited to finally be able to rescue the bears, but our real goal is their rehabilitation which is a long-term challenge. We are hoping that our members and supporters will continue with their generosity to help us give these bears a happy and healthy future.”
To come along and see the bears in their new home on Friday 7th November, please contact Fiona Paterson on 01227 712 111 or email email@example.com
High resolution images and broadcast quality High Definition Video footage of the bears’ journey from Bulgaria to Wildwood will be available on request to professional crews from Friday 7th November.
GET REAL TIME UPDATES: Wildwood’s CEO Peter Smith will be flying out to co-ordinate the rescue of the bears in Bulgaria and will be available for updates as the bears make their journey to Kent on 07986 828229
Watch the Daily Mirror video of the Bears at Kormisosh: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/worlds-saddest-bears-bred-hunters-4445124
ABOUT THE BEARS OF KORMISOSH
How old are the bears? What sex are they? Were they born at the breeding centre?
The bears are both male and were born in 1998 at Kormisosh so will be around 16 when they arrive at Wildwood. They have been there all their life and have never seen the outside of their concrete enclosure.
What state are they in, are they heathy?
They have been fed bland porridge-type food all their lives, nothing else. So while they are surviving and receive enough food for sustenance, they are in poor health as they do not receive the essential vitamins/minerals/variety of food that they need.
They have never been outside their concrete pens. So aside from their physical health, mentally they are suffering too - they receive no enrichment or any form of entertainment at all. For such intelligent, active and inquisitive animals it really is torturous for them.
Who looks after them?
They are currently fed by 2 elderly locals from the nearby village. Alertis (a charity dedicated to finding new homes for the bears) staff also monitor the bears and try and carry out health checks when they can.
What sort of support will the bears need when they arrive at Wildwood?
The bears will need a wide-range of health checks and procedures. They will need an extensive course of dentistry as many of their teeth will need to be re-built after years of neglect. They will need a long-term care plan to improve their diet and to introduce new foods (that they will have never seen before) and to teach them how to eat these new foods. The biggest task will be their slow rehabilitation to teach them how to display their natural behaviour. This will be a huge challenge but we are extremely lucky to have the help of one of the UK's leading experts on bear behaviour who is helping Wildwood with the project.
When will the bears arrive at Wildwood?
We hope to have the funds to remove the bears from Kormisosh before the end of the 2014 as we cannot risk leaving them over the harsh Bulgarian winter. As Bulgaria is a country with a risk of rabies, the bears will need a long quarantine period; this may be at Wildwood or at another European zoo. Once the bears are at Wildwood and past their quarantine phase, we cannot be sure how long they will need until they are comfortable enough to be on display to the public. We will take the pace as fast or as slow as the bears' require us to.
Wildwood Trust opened in 1999 as a centre of excellence for the conservation of British wildlife, and was established as a registered charity in 2002. Wildwood is Kent's best British wildlife park. Home to over 200 native animals, past and present and set in 40 acres of beautiful ancient woodland, see wolves, bison, deer, owls, foxes, red squirrels, wild boar, lynx, wild horses, badgers and beavers plus many more. As one of the leading British animal conservation charities in the UK Wildwood Trust is dedicated to saving Britain's most threatened wildlife. Wildwood Trust have taken part in many ground-breaking conservation programmes to date, which include, saving the water vole, using wild horses to help restore Kent's most precious nature reserves, bringing the extinct European beaver back to Britain and returning the hazel dormouse & red squirrel to areas where they have been made extinct.
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We would like to say a very BIG thank you to everyone who has donated and been involved in the Bear Appeal so far. We have been overwhelmed by all your support and genorosity, and are delighted to announce that thanks to you, we have now raised an incredible £45,000! We're now just £5,000 off our £50,000 target. To find out more about the Wildwood Trust Bear Appeal, please click here.
Lots has happened since the last bear update, volunteers and staff have been working tirelessly to raise the funds needed to rescue the bears and to finish their night-time accommodation and quarantine facilities.
Top news from the past couple of weeks:
We obtained approval and licences from Balai (the body that regulates the import/export of animals in the EU), meaning we have permission to quarantine the bears at Wildwood.
The two shipping containers which will form part of the bears night-time accommodation and quarantine facilities arrived, so thank you to Containers 4 Sale UK. Also thank you to Parkers Steel and Batt Cables, who helped with the materials for the enclosure.
We ran two busy volunteer days at Wildwood to help finish the bears night-time enclosure.
The small bear pool has been installed within the quarantine area, so the bears can enjoy a swim and splash around during their 4 month quarantine period.
We made the national press! The Wildwood bear appeal was the centre page spread in the Daily Mirror. We had an incredible response to the article, thank you to all who donated. Missed it? Click here to read the article.
Wildwood Trust will receive 100% of your donation. *Text donations will cost £5 plus your standard network message rate. Always get the bill payers permission.
The containers arriving at Wildwood, which will form part of the bears night-time accommodation and quarantine facilities. They'll also be used as the sleeping dens for the bears.
Our keeper and maintenance teams hard at work. Here you can see them building a platform, so the bears can lie in the sun. Just in front is their pool so they can enjoy a swim and splash around during their 4 month quarantine period.
What happens next?
The night time area of the enclosure should be finished in the next couple of weeks. Our ranger team will then start work on the larger, daytime area of the enclosure.
We are currently working hard to make all the arrangements needed to transport the bears safely to Wildwood from Bulgaria. Moving such large, powerful animals is a complex procedure, and we need to make sure the bears will have as comfortable and stress-free a journey as possible. Watch this space for exciting news soon!
What happens when the bears arrive?
Once the bears arrive at Wildwood they will need to spend around 4 months in our specially built quarantine facilities. During this time they will undergo a complete physical examination and receive all relevant vaccinations. Their quarantine period is important to make sure that they have not brought any diseases from Bulgaria, that could be passed on to our other animals. After this time they will be introduced into the wider, woodland area of the enclosure during the day and kept in the smaller area at night for their safety and comfort.
As the bears have lived in such appalling conditions, they will need time to adjust and settle into their new surroundings. So that the bears can have the best chance of a new life at Wildwood they will be kept off-show to the public during their quarantine period. Depending on their progress, we hope that you will be able to see them sometime around Easter next year.
One of the volunteers helping paint the bears night-time accommdation with rust proof paint. The volunteers also helped move logs and lend a hand to the keeper and maintenance teams.
We had an amazing turn out to both of our bear volunteer days. A huge thank you to all involved over the two days.
Interested in organising your own fundrasing event?
We are so grateful for all the support we have received from people working hard to raise money for the Bear Appeal. Recent fundraisers we would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to include:
Helen Allmond - raised over £2,500 auctioning items on eBay and fundraising with British Airways cabin crew.
John and Brenda Cooper - raised £650 by holding an auction evening.
Emily Lambert - raised £116 selling cakes, loom band bracelets and painted stones.
Paulette Butcher and the Finance Department of KMPT - raised £316 during a coffee and cake sale at work.
Mrs McCallister - raised £200 by holding coffee mornings.
Jacqui Gill - raised £201 by running a fundraising dinner and auction.
Why not organise a fundraising event of your own for the bear appeal? Get your friends and family involved, hold an event at work or at your childs school. For more information on the bear appeal, including fundraising ideas, please contact Jess, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01227 712 111.
Thank you to all who donated when our fundraisers were at ASDA Canterbury and Thanet. We'll be at ASDA Canterbury again on Tuesday 18.11.14, so come and say hello.
... We have raised an incredible amount of money so far… but we don't want to stop yet!
The main daytime enclosure still needs completing and filling with items that will stimulate the bears curious nature.
The bears will need a wide-range of health checks and procedures when they arrive:
- They will need an extensive course of dentistry as many of their teeth will need to be re-built after years of neglect.
- They will need a long-term care plan to improve their diet and to introduce new foods (that they will have never seen before) and to teach them how to eat these new foods.
- They will require a complex rehabilitation programme to help them recover from their traumatic experience in Bulgaria and to encourage them to start to express natural behaviour and act like bears again.
The more money we are able to raise, the more we will be able to provide for the bears once they arrive. Please donate today to give these poor animals the chance of a safe and happy future at Wildwood.