Wildwood Escot launches close-up ‘animal experiences’ - and prepares to welcome bear cubs

The bear cubs at their temporary home in Kent. Picture: Wildwood Trust

The bear cubs at their temporary home in Kent. Picture: Wildwood Trust - Credit: Archant

Two young bears, orphaned as cubs in Albania and rescued by animal welfare workers, are due to arrive at Wildwood Escot early next year.

Bear cub. Picture: Wildwood Trust

Bear cub. Picture: Wildwood Trust - Credit: Archant

The pair are currently living at the Wildwood Trust’s site in Kent after being brought to this country last month.

The cubs, named Mish and Lucy, were found in a snowdrift in Albania when they were just a few weeks old.

Albanian Wildlife Rescue, which cared for them, believes their mother was frightened away by illegal loggers or poaches, and the cubs were too young to survive in the wild without her.

They will be brought to Wildwood Escot, near Ottery, by Easter next year, and will live in a woodland environment very similar to their natural habitat.

Arctic fox. Picture: Wildwood Trust

Arctic fox. Picture: Wildwood Trust - Credit: Archant


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A crowdfunding campaign is under way to fund the re-homing of the bears: to donate, visit https://chuffed.org/project/mish-and-lucy or call the donation hotline: 01227 712111.

Meanwhile, visitors to Wildwood Escot are being offered the chance to get much closer than before to some of the animals there.

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They can buy tickets for special ‘encounters’ with the wolves, red squirrels and an Arctic fox which has only been there a few months, in which they will go into their enclosures and feed the animals, supervised and guided by keepers.

The fees from the feeding sessions will go towards Wildwood Escot’s conservation work and the Wildwood Trust’s aim to protect and preserve native British wildlife.

Red squirrel. Picture: Wildwood Trust

Red squirrel. Picture: Wildwood Trust - Credit: Archant

General manager George Hyde said: “We are thrilled to offer visitors the chance to personally meet some of our incredible animals. The new experiences will give people a flavour of what life is like behind the scenes at Escot.

“They will see first-hand what it’s like to care for these iconic animals and, hopefully, inspire them to connect with our wild British roots.

“The experiences are all unique, so whether you want to see what it’s like to come nose-to-nose with a wolf, like our ancestors may have in the forests of England, hand-feed adorable red squirrels or fall under the spell of our beautiful Arctic Fox, Lyra, there’s something for every animal lover.”

Visit https://devon.wildwoodtrust.org/ for further information and bookings.

One of the wolves. Picture: Wildwood Trust

One of the wolves. Picture: Wildwood Trust - Credit: Archant

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