Welcome to the April edition of the Wildwood newsletter and the beginning of the nice weather! We have some cute new babies, some improvements at the park to mention and some great conservation news.
If you wish to know more about any of our stories or Wildwood in general, then please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your continued support. We'll see you again soon!
Wildwood are enormously proud to announce the opening of Britain’s most innovative wolf woodland enclosure. A unique two-level woodland feature allows visitors to venture into the heart of the wolf pack’s lair and experience what it is like to share the woodland with the wolves. With immersive 360-degree panoramic views, accessible to all, thousands of families can join the wolves in one of Britain’s most engaging animal experiences. We also hope to soon welcome the pitter patter of tiny paws and the start of Wildwood’s new wolf pack.
1. We’re celebrating the birth of a new wallaby joey to the park. The joey has only just left its mother’s pouch and can be seen exploring in the walkthrough. We have yet to determine the sex, but so far it appears to be very strong and healthy.
2. The beginning of March welcomed the birth of five baby rabbits to our doe, Truffle. Did you know baby rabbits are actually called kittens?
3. Our Soay sheep have recently welcomed a new lamb, born this April.
Pigs in space
Our younger wild boar pair, Sherwood and Ash, have moved to an enclosure next to the bison. The new area hosts plenty of opportunity for foraging a bountiful amount of food and will give their old enclosure time to rest and grow up new plants and shoots. We will be regularly rotating the boar between the two enclosures to reap the benefits of new floral growth and to enrich the animals.
Bears are back in town
After a second successful winter torpor, our bears are back in their large enclosure for the summer. Come see them foraging, relaxing in their pool and doing bear things! The bear bridge viewing platform is also open.
Adoptions - Wildwood animal adoptions last for one year and are the perfect gift for any animal lover. Each adoption helps support our work to save British Wildlife. We have various different levels of adoption available to suit all occasions and budgets, and you can choose from any one of our animals.
Experiences – We currently offer bear experiences, photo days and guided tours on our website. We’ll have Arctic fox experiences available later in the year and have some other great animal experiences in the pipeline.
Shop – This is where you can buy items unique to Wildwood - Top Trumps, Hoody Bears, Prints and Vouchers.
Courses - Wildwood Trust offers a range of training courses and workshops throughout the year catering for complete beginners and amateur naturalists through to wildlife professionals. We cover a variety of topics ranging from species ecology, conservation and handling to outdoor crafts, foraging and permaculture.
Ramsgate artist Donna Langridge helped the park celebrate the opening of the enclosure by donating two stunning pieces of custom made pyrography.
The 36-year-old spent more than 90 hours painstakingly burning each individual line onto wood to capture the beauty of Wildwood's wolves, Odin and Nuna. Both artworks are on display in the new wolf platform.
Road and path upgrade
As a conservation charity, Wildwood is dedicated to educating people about British wildlife and wild spaces and uses its ancient woodland setting to achieve this goal. Making our woodland park easily navigable for visitors whilst being sensitive to the natural environment can be challenging; heavy rain causes many pathways around the park to become severely waterlogged and muddy, making some areas almost impassable. Cold weather can also make other paths uneven and difficult to navigate – particularly for those with additional mobility needs or pushchairs. We will be upgrading the road to the car park and pathways throughout the park this year and apologise in advance for any inconvenience.
Some of our wild konik ponies have been moved to an exciting new rewilding project. The Cambrian Wildwood Project aims to rewild thousands of acres of overgrazed Welsh mountain land. Taking ecologically destroyed land and restoring it back to its original wildwood status. With lite grazing from wild horses, trees will come back with complex wetlands and open areas. This ground breaking project could be the start of a rewilded Britain and we will be doing more to help our partners achieve their aims.
Over 20 adorable dormice have been released at a secret location where they have gone extinct in the UK. Each year Wildwood supplies captive-bred dormice for the release programme and, as studbook holder for the species, selects and pairs up the animals for release, thus ensuring the strongest genetic mix for future generations. Wildwood Trust is the UK’s leading charity in captive breeding dormice for release into the wild to help to combat this decline and have bred hundreds of dormice over the 15 years.
We need your help!
To help with our conservation aims, our keepers are always in need of a variety of items. We're looking for old pillow cases and towels, 2ft x 3ft concrete slabs and a trailer. If you have any of these spare and ready to be thrown out, please get in touch.
Purrfect New Home
Our breeding pair of Scottish wildcats have now moved to their new enclosure opposite the Eagle Owls. The enclosure comes complete with a quiet, off show birthing pen for when and if kittens arrive. Carna and RJ are both growing in confidence in their new surroundings, already sleeping on their platforms and boxes.
Royal Mail’s NEW Reintroduced Species stamps have been released and subsequently a very special Wildwood collection pack produced by our friends at Buckingham Covers.
As well as being a great collector's item that includes the full set of 6 stamps, Wildwood will receive £1 from every sale which will go towards our ongoing beaver reintroduction work.
You can buy now or find out more in our shop or by clicking the button.
After their second successful winter semi-hibernation, our bears are now fully awake and ready for Spring! They will be released into their large enclosure at 11.30am on Good Friday 30th March and one lucky winner will reintroduce them back into their expansive woodland home.
All visitors entering Wildwood before 11.00am on the day will be given a free raffle ticket. The winning ticket will be announced at the bear enclosure at 11.20am and the winner will be invited to pull the sliding doors and release the bears! Our bear bridge will also be opening for the summer which gives wonderful views over the whole of their enclosure.
Come down and help us welcome our bears to 2018!
The story of our bears
The early years...
The bears had lived their entire lives in small, barren concrete pits in an abandoned bear breeding centre called Kormissosh, in Bulgaria. Kormissosh was used to breed bears to be shot by hunters until 1993 when bear hunting was outlawed. As a result, Kormissosh was abandoned, leaving the bears to a life of misery and neglect. Only the kindness of local villagers saw the bears being fed, their main diet being hardened blocks of porridge.
As Kormissosh was a breeding centre, the males and females were not separated when the centre was abandoned and the bears continued to breed. Our bears (males, both now aged around 17yrs) were born at Kormissosh and had never been outside of their concrete pens before being rescued by Wildwood.
To rescue the bears, Wildwood worked in partnership with Bears In Mind, a Netherlands based charity which works to rescue bears around the world. After a desperate push to raise the £50,000 needed for their transportation and quarantine enclosure, Wildwood managed to bring the bears to their site in Kent in November 2014. The rescue operation was in fact brought forward by 5 months as it was feared that the bears might not survive the winter.
A new life at Wildwood...
After arriving at Wildwood, the bears lived in their smaller quarantine enclosure whilst their larger woodland enclosure area was completed. As soon as it was ready, the bears were allowed out to explore their new home one at a time until they were both familiar with their surroundings.
The bears had never seen each other when at Kormissosh, and were gradually introduced through the enclosure wires over a period of time. It was felt that 'discussions' took place during this period, so when they did eventually meet 'face-to-face' in March 2016, there was no altercations and they still get on very well.
Our aim is for the bears in our charge to live as natural as life as possible, and to make sure that their physical and mental health are as perfect as we can achieve. To this end, our expert keepers are continuing to use behavioural husbandry; closely monitoring their weight and reactions to their diet and environment. We're hoping for them to approach a full natural rhythm by the Summer of 2018.
With our large enclosure having the capacity to comfortably fit five bears and we may also look towards supporting more bears at Wildwood dependant on whether we deem it beneficial for our exisiting bears. Watch this space!
Wildwood Trust opened in 1999 as a centre of excellence for the conservation of British wildlife, and was established as a registered charity in 2002. Wildwood is Kent's best British wildlife park. Home to over 200 native animals, past and present and set in 40 acres of beautiful ancient woodland where visitors can see bears, wolves, bison, deer, owls, foxes, red squirrels, wild boar, lynx, wild horses, badgers and beavers plus many more. As one of the leading British animal conservation charities in the UK, Wildwood Trust is dedicated to saving Britain's most threatened wildlife. Wildwood Trust have taken part in many ground-breaking conservation programmes to date, which include, saving the water vole, using wild horses to help restore Kent's most precious nature reserves, bringing the extinct European beaver back to Britain and returning the hazel dormouse & red squirrel to areas where they have been made extinct.
Wildwood Trust Herne Common Herne Bay Kent CT6 7LQ