Wildwood Trust, working with Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park, has successfully rescued Diego, the sole surviving bear at Orsa Predator Park in Sweden, which will soon close.

The Swedish park is due to close imminently to make room for a leisure facility and staff were ordered to euthanise any animals left behind. All three of the park’s bears, including Diego, were facing certain death before a rescue plan was put in place by Jimmy Doherty, the conservationist in charge at Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park in Suffolk. With such short notice, Jimmy didn’t have time to make an enclosure ready for Diego, so he called on his friends and colleagues at Wildwood to help.

Despite the challenge posed by Storm Ciaran, which battered Devon, Diego arrived safely at Wildwood on 2nd November, where he will stay before heading to his forever home at Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park next year. Plans to move Diego had to be amended, with ferry travel impossible due to the storm, instead he arrived safely via train.

Widwood Trust is renowned for its expertise in rewilding and conserving natural wildlife and has gained global recognition for its rehabilitation of brown bears. Wildwood Escot is already home to two orphaned brown bears, Lucy and Mish, who narrowly avoided death after being abandoned by their parents. Their expertise in spacious enclosures enabled them to establish a permanent woodland sanctuary for the pair, making Wildwood the perfect location for Diego’s temporary home.

Paul Whitfield, Director General of Wildwood Trust, said: “We’ve got a brilliant reputation for working with European Brown Bears, rescuing them, rehabilitating them and giving them amazing homes. Diego is going to spend the winter with us at our park in Devon and then in spring, he will head out to Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park, where he will spend the rest of his life in a fantastic enclosure.”

Now he is settled, Diego is expected to go into torpor, a natural behaviour in which bears sleep deeply for weeks or months with only short periods of activity in between. Wildwood is one of the few parks in the UK to encourage this natural behaviour, ensuring Diego’s wellbeing and comfort during the winter months.

Diego’s journey from Sweden to Devon will be featured in an upcoming documentary produced by Jimmy and his team. Look out for it airing soon.

Speaking about his gratitude at Wildwood for helping rescue Diego, Jimmy Doherty said: “Wildwood Trust are experts in their field so I am delighted Diego will spend his torpor there over the winter period. It is a great environment for him and allows us to complete essential work of his future home at Jimmy’s Farm.”

To find out more about Wildwood Trust, please visit wildwoodtrust.org