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If you go down to the woods today..

If you go down to the woods today..

by Peter Hanscomb

Ok , bears and wolves in the UK , so it must be a zoo ?, and you’d be right . To be precise, were talking about Bristol Zoo or to give them their full name the Bristol Zoological Society and their  new site at Blackhorse woods , the Wild Places Project At Bear Woods.

Now before you all start on about Zoos and the whole captive animal thing , this looks a little different. Education and research is the main aim , with a natural ancient wood as the setting. The site is actually bigger than the whole of Bristol Zoos main site , and here’s the best part. Only four animals here. In fact EAZA guidelines required a minimum space of 300 square metres for a bear . At Bear Woods the bears have just over 12,000 square metres , all of which is fully enclosed in woodland.

The bears share their enclosure with a five wolves and reports are they mix together with no problems. The aim of the new site is to connect people with nature is a different way to a tradition zoo. Observation is via an elevated walk way that covers over 700 metres.

I’m not a great fan of tradition Zoos or indeed captive animals as a visitor attraction , but if used right , this could start us all down the road to one day reintroducing apex predators back to the UK.

for more info visit http://www.wildplace.org.uk

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