Port Lympne Reserve, Kent’s award winning wild animal park and home to over 700 animals including lions and tigers, have announced that preparations are underway to welcome the county’s first pair of spectacled bears.
Animal Director, Adrian Harland said: ‘We are all so excited that spectacled bears will be setting up home at Port Lympne Reserve. They are native to South America and are the species thought to have inspired the stories of children’s favourite – Paddington Bear.’
The Bears, a male and female are expected to move into their new home in time for Spring and keepers have been working hard preparing their new enclosure, which is on course to be one of the largest spectacled bear enclosures in Europe, spanning approximately 9,000 square meters.
Richard Barnes, Head of Large Carnivores at Port Lympne said: ‘We’ve been pulling out all the stops to make their home as comfortable as possible and we’ve still got a way to go yet. We’ve been using recycled electricity poles donated by UK Power Networks to start creating furniture for the bears, ideal for offering climbing and observing points. We’re also busy making sure that their indoor house is fitted with all the creature comforts a bear could wish for.’
Spectacled bears, otherwise known as Andean or short-faced bears come from South America and although very adaptable to all kinds of terrain and habitat, they are usually found in cloud forest. Males can be almost twice the size of females weighing in at 100-140kg and 70-90kg respectively. Although by definition they are carnivores, they eat a large amount of fruit, spending much of their time foraging.
Adrian added: ‘The bears will be sharing their new home with other South American animals, including capuchin monkeys, capybara and ring-tailed coatis – the collective noun of which is a party! This is set to be one of the most interesting mixed enclosures that we have created and I’m sure that our visitors will love seeing our new arrivals exploring their new home.’