Brown bears to return to Dudley Zoo after 40 years
They have not been in these parts for almost 40 years but now brown bears are about to make a return to Dudley Zoo.
The attraction has announced plans to bring bears back to the Black Country and extend the enclosure by one and a half acres.
Bosses have opened talks with a zoo in Slovakia which cares for orphaned bears about bringing in a breeding group of three or four European brown bears.
They are expected to arrive next year to join the wide selection of animals living at the zoo. It will be the first time since 1980 brown bears housed at Dudley Zoo and it is hoped the new arrivals will be able to breed and herald a new generation of bears.
The zoo launched a project to bring back bears following a public vote.
Throughout 2018, visitors who added the 10 per cent voluntary Gift Aid donation to their entrance fee received a token to vote for one of three major projects involving either bears, chimps or orangs.
And visitors decided it was bears they would most like to see at the zoo.
Workers will soon be getting busy on making the bears' new home as welcoming as possible.
The Lubetkin Bear Ravine will be brought back into use.
The Tecton was restored to its former 1930s glory as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project in 2015.
Further work on revamping the enclosure is expected to start this winter. Curator Richard Brown has been speaking with Bojnice Zoo in Slovakia about the possibility of bringing the bears over.
Zoo Director Derek Grove said: “Giving the visitors who support us through donations chance to vote on their preferred development project is our way of gauging what people would like to see at the zoo.
“I’m delighted this has proved the winning project, as not only are we returning a popular species to the zoo but we’ll be bringing the Bear Ravine back into use.
“A section of the Modernist structure will form part of the perimeter and we intend to incorporate the banked area behind the Bear Ravine into the enclosure, giving the bears access to mature trees.”
A new indoor house will be built at the far end of the paddock along with a large climbing frame.
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