Friday, 31 October 2014

Press invite - see the rescued bears at Wildwood

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Press invite: See the rescued bears at Wildwood


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


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



Wildwood Trust: +44(0)1227 712 111

Fiona Paterson:

Warren Ashfield:

Peter Smith:

Wildwood Trust, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Nr Canterbury, Kent CT6 7LQ

Registered Charity No. 1093702



Watch the Wildwood bear rescue appeal video:

Watch the Daily Mirror video of the Bears at 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.



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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.




from all Wildwood Trust email communications

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