A brown bear living on borrowed time has been saved from certain death and found temporary refuge at a wildlife centre in East Devon.
Diego, the last remaining bear at Sweden’s Orsa Predator Park. Orsa, faced death because the facility is on the brink of closing to make way for a leisure facility – and staff have been ordered to euthanise any remaining animals.
Diego – saved when Wildwood Trust and Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park in Suffolk stepped in and teamed up to rehome Diego – is expected to arrive in East Devon in early November.
Once the brown bear has moved to Wildwood, at Escot, near Ottery, in East Devon, he is expected to stay until spring 2024, before moving to his permanent home at Jimmy’s Farm.
When he arrives in East Devon, Diego is expected to go into torpor – natural bear behaviour where the species sleeps deeply for weeks or months with only short periods of activity in between.
Paul Whitfield, Wildwood Trust’s Director General, said: “Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park want to build a fantastic facility for Diego. They are currently raising money to achieve this.
“We have now joined them in offering to house Diego while he goes through his natural period of winter torpor.
“He will reside here at Wildwood’s first-class facility over the coming winter.”
He added: “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.”
The East Devon Wildlife Trust sanctuary is already home to two orphaned brown bears, Lucy and Mish, who narrowly escaped death after being abandoned by their parents in Albania in April 2019.