Abandoned as cubs, two Eurasian brown bears move into new custom-built enclosure with “bear walkway and platform” giving visitors a bird's-eye view of their new abode.

Two orphaned bears who faced certain death after being abandoned by their mother in the Albanian wilderness are finding their feet in their forever home at Wildwood Escot, near Ottery St Mary, in Devon.                                                                    

Siblings Mish and Lucy, who are unable to return to the wild after their dramatic rescue in conjunction with Albanian Wildlife Rescue, have been in temporary accommodation at the Escot wildlife park while a dedicated team completed their bespoke acre-and-a-half permanent enclosure.

Set amongst beautiful Devon woodland and grassland, the enclosure has been left as natural as possible with the aim of creating a lifelong habitat for the bears. Visitors will also be able to get up close to these extraordinary animals by walking on a very exciting ‘bear walkway and platform’ which will link two sides of the exhibit and give guests a birds-eye view over the bears’ woodland home.

Wildwood Escot General Manager, George Hyde, said: “Mish and Lucy didn’t have the easiest start in life so it’s even more heart-warming to see them enjoying their new home. They’re the first bears we’ve ever had at Escot and have become firm favourites with our visitors since they arrived last year. 

“We’re delighted that - just in time for the Easter holidays - the public will finally be able to see them in their new enclosure and will be able to enjoy unrivalled views of these fascinating creatures from our new walkway and platform.”

The unveiling of Mish and Lucy’s new enclosure, comes as two adult bears at Wildwood’s Kent park - Fluff and Scruff - emerge from torpor (a deep sleep).  The Trust, which is one of the only wildlife parks which encourages bears to follow this natural behaviour - has gained an international reputation for rescuing and rehabilitating bears. 

This is in large part as the result of its work with Fluff and Scruff, who were rescued in Bulgaria six years ago. Thanks to the Wildwood’s expert keepers, the brothers have recovered fully after suffering years of physical and mental trauma when they were held in an abandoned hunting facility under horrific conditions to be shot for ‘sport’.

It was as a result of its impressive reputation in this field that the charity was contacted to help provide a permanent woodland sanctuary for Mish and Lucy in April 2019.

Mark Habben is Wildwood’s Director of Zoo Operations, he said: “All the bears we have at Wildwood have been rescued and would be unable to survive in the wild. That’s why it’s been our absolute priority to give them a happy and healthy life and encourage their natural behaviours such as torpor. 

“I’m really proud of the team, who have rightly gained international acclaim, for their tireless work to rehabilitate Fluff and Scruff as well as giving Mish and Lucy such a safe and nurturing start. We’re really excited that the public will once again be able to enjoy seeing them when they visit our parks.”

The unveiling of Mish and Lucy’s new enclosure comes just weeks before the start of the Easter Holidays, which is expected to be a bumper few weeks for the park with a whole host of egg-citing activities lined up.

For more information about what’s on at Wildwood Escot - and to secure your tickets for the bears, you can pre-book here

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