In emotional and touching scenes at Wildwood Trust yesterday, our two brown bears became the best of friends. In an essential but extremely risky operation, which has been over a year in the making, has resulted in these two wonderful bears coming together for the first time.  The moments have been captured and can be seen on photo and video.

The two rescued bears had lived in solitary confinement for all of their 16 years, locked in cells and with no contact to other animals, before coming to Wildwood. The bears could not be easily introduced to each other, but yesterday they finally came together feeling the warmth of friendship of a fellow bear for the first time.
The experts at Wildwood Trust have been working tirelessly to restore both the physical and mental health of these bears and, finally, we have rehabilitated them to a state where they could be safely mixed together.
Many of the volunteers and staff have been on tenterhooks this week, unsure of how the mixing would go, as the bears could  easily hurt  one another and, therefore, setback their journey to recovery But everything has gone well. The pictures and video of their first meeting show the warmth and friendship they  displayed when coming together, a vital step in their journey to live out there years in happiness and contentment.
Peter Smith, Wildwood’s CEO, said; “last year our members rallied to our call to help support the rescue of the bears from Bulgaria. It is wonderful that the generosity of our supporters raised over £120,000 to give the bears a better life, Now they can have that generosity rewarded by another milestone achieved in the bear's long road to recovery.”
“After enduring lives of terrible neglect and suffering, the bears have required many months of costly care and rehabilitation to bring them back to full physical health. The bears can now enjoy the company of each other and this is a significant step to their full mental recuperation.”
This work will continue for years to come and Wildwood's members can now share in that journey as they observe the bears, together in their woodland home. Key to the successful rehabilitation of the bears will be their large 1.5 acre woodland enclosure and the many naturel enrichment features which have been installed such as native fruit trees, dens and bear ‘play equipment’.
The bears will be in their woodland home for visitors to take a peak over the Easter & there are a few places for lucky visitors who can book a more personal introduction to the bears in our special Bear Experiences: more info http://www.wildwoodtrust.org/bearexperience.html . All profits go towards our charitable work.
 

ABOUT THE BEARS OF KORMISOSH
How old are the bears? What sex are they? Were they born at the breeding centre?
The bears are both male and were born in 1998 at Kormisosh so will be around 16 when they arrive at Wildwood. They have been there all their life, alone, and have never seen the outside of their concrete enclosure.
What state are they in, are they heathy?
They have been fed bland porridge-type food all their lives, nothing else. So while they are surviving and receive enough food for sustenance, they are in poor health as they do not receive the essential vitamins/minerals/variety of food that they need.
They have never been outside their concrete pens. So aside from their physical health, mentally they are suffering too - they receive no enrichment or any form of entertainment at all. For such intelligent, active and inquisitive animals it really is torturous for them.
Who looks after them?
They where fed by 2 elderly locals from the nearby village. Alertis (a charity dedicated to finding new homes for the bears) staff also monitor the bears and try and carry out health checks when they can.
What have wildwood done to help the bears?
The bears have undergone a wide-range of health checks and procedures. They have responded exceptionally well to our long-term care plan to improve their diet and build their physical health. The biggest task has been their slow rehabilitation to teach them how to display their natural behaviour. This has been a huge challenge but we are extremely lucky to have a team of expert advisors, and committed volunteers and staff.