Spring is in the air and our bears are up and about.
They have spent the winter months in a sleepy state called torpor, but now they are active again - just in time for World Bear Day (Tuesday, March 23).
The four European brown bears are waking up early each day to make the most of the mild weather.
Animal Manager Will Walker said: “It’s lovely to see them moving around. Although they don't actually hibernate, they do spend a lot of time asleep during the cold weather.”
The bears, three-year-old Gemini and Albie and four-year-old Neo and Nilas, live in Bear Wood which opened at Wild Place Project in 2019.
In recent days they have been seen climbing the trees, playing in the pond in the heart of the exhibit and enjoying a diet of grasses, greens and meat, as they would eat in the wild at this time of year. Spring flowers are coming into bloom throughout Wild Place Project which is rich in native wildlife. As many as 44 species of birds have been spotted there including blue tits, ravens, wrens and woodpeckers.
Will said: “Spring is well and truly here and the bears are eating well and exploring their surroundings.”
Brown bears used to roam all over Britain and, although it is not known exactly when they disappeared from these islands, experts think it was around 8,000 years ago.
The bears here at Wild Place Project live in an ancient woodland just as their ancestors would have done thousands of years ago.
Will said: “They are remarkable animals, intelligent and powerful and Bear Wood provides a perfect, natural environment for them.”
Bear Wood, which opened in 2019 and is sponsored by Natracare, covers 7.5 acres and is the UK’s largest and most ambitious brown bear exhibit.
Gemini, Albie, Neo and Nilas share their woodland home with four wolves just as they would in the wild. A family of lynxes and two wolverines also live beneath the trees in Bear Wood in separate areas of the exhibit.
Animal lovers can forge a special lasting link with the bears of Wild Place Project, and help support us, by adopting our bears. Click here for more details.
Wild Place Project and Bristol Zoo Gardens are owned and operated by Bristol Zoological Society, a conservation and education charity.
The Society relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at both sites but also to support its vital conservation and research projects spanning four continents.
Following the closure of the two attractions due to COVID-19 the Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’.
Click here to find out more about the appeal, or to make a donation.