PHOTOS: Here come the bears! Wildlife sanctuary near Ottery to welcome rescued cubs in 2021

Bear cubs discovered alone in a snowdrift in Albania in 2019 will be rehomed near Ottery St Mary next year.

Brown bears Mish and Lucy are set to move into wildlife sanctuary Wildwood Escot in the spring of 2021, into a specially-built 1.5-acre natural enclosure.

Park visitors will be able to watch the cubs in their natural woodland home from an overhead bear bridge.

Tiny cubs Mish and Lucy were discovered abandoned in a snowdrift in Albania in 2019 but could not be returned to the wild.

They have been staying temporarily at Wildwood Escot’s sister park in Kent, before moving to their East Devon home, to arrive before Easter 2021.


The cubs when they were first discovered and rescued .
Photo: Wildwood Trust.


Bear cubs Mish and Lucy  now – with a Christmas tree at Wildwood Escot’s sister park in Kent, where they have been staying.
Photo: Wildwood Trust.


Keepers decorated Mish and Lucy’s first Christmas tree with a range of treats.
Photo: Wildwood Trust.

East Devon

Lucy inspecting the top of the tree.
Photo: Wildwood Trust.


The smell of pine was a treat for the bear cubs.
Photo: Wildwood Trust.

George Hyde, Wildwood Escot manager, said: “With young cubs like Mish and Lucy it’s going to be playtime and exploration twenty-four-seven.

“We are delighted to have been granted planning permission to create a fantastic woodland home for them, with as much natural enrichment as possible, here at Escot.”

He added: “We are incredibly excited to be able to show the public how it could have looked when bears roamed Britain about 1600 years ago.

“One of our key aims at Wildwood is to teach the public about Britain’s native species and to be able to get ‘bear on the curriculum’ is fantastic.

“It’s such a festive treat for the whole team here to be a big step closer to this becoming a reality.”


The construction of the bear bridge above Mish and Lucy’s new woodland home near Ottery.
Photos: Wildwood Escot.



A large bridge connecting two sides of the bear woodland will allow visitors to be part of the cubs’ new home.
Photo: Wildwood Escot.

The cubs’ new home will span one-and-a-half acres – the equivalent size of almost two football fields – made up of natural woodland and grassland.

A Wildwood Escot spokesperson said: “The cubs will enjoy lots of enrichment in their new home, from trees to climb and earth dens to dig, to root balls, fallen trees, toys and rope challenges, along with daily food treasure hunts to encourage their natural foraging behaviour.

“Visitors to the park will be able to get close to these extraordinary animals by walking on a very exciting element – a bear bridge – which will give guests a birds-eye view over the cubs’ woodland home.”

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