Friday, 11 March 2016

The unique Bear ‘Bromance’ that has been 16 years in the waiting


The unique Bear ‘Bromance’ that has been 16 years in the waiting as Wildwood's rescued brown bears become the best of friends.....

Video on youtube here:

In emotional and touching scenes at Wildwood Trust yesterday, our two brown bears became the best of friends. In an essential but extremely risky operation, which has been over a year in the making, has resulted in these two wonderful bears coming together for the first time.  The moments have been captured and can be seen on photo and video.

The two rescued bears had lived in solitary confinement for all of there 16 years, locked in cells and with no contact to other animals, before coming to Wildwood. The bears could not be easily introduced to each other , but yesterday they finally came together feeling the warmth of friendship of a fellow bear for the first time.

The experts at Wildwood Trust have been working tirelessly to restore both the physical and mental health of these bears and, finally, we have rehabilitated them to a state where they could be safely mixed together.
Many of the volunteers and staff have been on tenterhooks this week, unsure of how the mixing would go, as the bears could  easily hurt  one another and, therefore, setback their journey to recovery But everything has gone well. The pictures and video of their first meeting show the warmth and friendship they  displayed when coming together, a vital step in their journey to live out there years in happiness and contentment.

Peter Smith, Wildwood’s CEO, said; “last year the whole of Kent rallied to our call to help support the rescue of the bears from Bulgaria. It is wonderful that the generosity of the people of Kent, who raised over £120,000 to give the bears a better life, can have that generosity rewarded by another milestone in the their rehabilitation.”

“After enduring lives of terrible neglect and suffering, the bears have required many months of costly care and rehabilitation to bring them back to full physical health. The bears can now enjoy the company of each other and this is a significant step to their full mental recuperation.”

This work will continue for years to come and visitors to Wildwood can now share in that journey as they observe the bears, together in there large woodland home. Key to the successful rehabilitation of the bears will be their large 1.5 acre woodland enclosure and the many naturel enrichment features which have been installed such as native fruit trees, dens and bear ‘play equipment’.
The bears will be in their woodland home for visitors to take a peak over the Easter & there are a few places for lucky visitors who can book a more personal introduction to the bears in our special Bear Experiences: more info . All profits go towards our charitable work.
For more info please call Wildwood Trust on 01227 712 111

High resolution images and broadcast quality High Definition Video footage of the bears meeting for the first time is available by download or request. Also similar footage of bears’ journey from Bulgaria to Wildwood is available.
Phot Credit: Dave Butcher, Wildwood Trust
Peter Smith: 01227 712111
Fiona Paterson: 01227712111
Wildwood Trust, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Nr Canterbury, Kent CT6 7LQ
Registered Charity No. 1093702

To download the images  visit our Dropbox account (folder: Wildwood bears in new…closure):
pword: wildwoodpics
Video can be sent by dropbox or wetransfer or ripped from our youtube channel here:
Wildwood Trust: +44(0)1227 712 111
Wildwood Trust, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Nr Canterbury, Kent CT6 7L
Registered Charity No. 1093702
Watch the Wildwood bear rescue appeal video:
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, alone, 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 where 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 have wildwood done to help the bears?
The bears have undergone a wide-range of health checks and procedures. They have responded exceptionally well to our long-term care plan to improve their diet and build their physical health. The biggest task has been their slow rehabilitation to teach them how to display their natural behaviour. This has been a huge challenge but we are extremely lucky to a team of expert advisors and committed volunteers and staff

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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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