Our European brown bears and grey wolves have begun living side by side together for the first time in a UK Zoo!
The four bears and five wolves were recently given access to the same woodland exhibit within our award-winning Bear Wood
After some initial curiosity and playful chasing, the two species were soon quietly sharing the same space beneath the trees as they would have done in this country thousands of years ago.
It is a huge milestone for us as we prepare to reopen after an 13-week closure
due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
From Friday 19 June, we will welcome visitors back with a host of new measures in place, including essential buying of tickets online
in advance for timed entry slots, to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.
We can't wait for everyone to see the bears and wolves living together. Will Walker, Animal Manager, said:
“It is a wonderful sight to see these amazing animals next to each other as they would have once lived here in the wild.
“We hoped they would settle in well together because they had lived in adjacent paddocks for several months, so have been used to the sights, sounds and smells of each other.
“Despite that, there was still a sense of excitement and trepidation when we mixed them for the first time, and we all knew that we were watching history unfold before us. We are very happy to say that there have been no signs of aggression and the two species are living quite contentedly alongside each other.”
Will said keepers had been planning the move for weeks before the four bears and five wolves were finally introduced, with the bears kept in a separate area of woodland while the wolves were allowed to get used to the bears’ main woodland paddock area first.
He added: “We are all thrilled that it has gone so well. From now on the bears and wolves have daily access to the same area and we are delighted that our visitors will be able to see these two magnificent species living together, as we prepare to reopen.”
The diets of bears and wolves are naturally very different, and so the two species will not compete for food. The award-winning exhibit has been specifically designed to accommodate the needs of all the animals that live there.
The wolves can spend time away from the bears if they wish, as they have the option to leave the 11,000 square metre woodland exhibit and enter their own separate area.
, which is sponsored by Natracare, is home to wolverines and lynxes as well as wolves and bears. It tells the story of British ancient woodland from 8,000 BC to the present day, when bears, wolves, lynxes and wolverines were native to the UK.
It also inspires visitors to value and protect native woodland habitats and species – a sentiment that we hope people will value now more than ever before.
Wild Place Project is also home to species from across the world, including giraffes, cheetahs, lemurs, meerkats, geladas, okapis, red-river hogs and elands. It is also home to three zebra, including Vera our new, two week old zebra foal
Make sure you pay the bears and wolves a visit this summer - tickets are available to book now
Visitors to Wild Place are now asked to pre-purchase and members asked to pre-book tickets in advance, online, here: wildplace.org.uk/plan-your-visit/online-tickets
To find out more about the steps Wild Place is taking to protect visitors and staff from the spread of coronavirus, please visit wildplace.org.uk/plan-your-visit/FAQs
Additional rules have also been put in place, which are available to view here wildplace.org.uk/plan-your-visit/site-rules