Brown bears wake up after winter hibernation at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire

  • Watch the brown bears playing at Whipsnade Zoo after waking from hibernation

Four brown bears at a wildlife park have been filmed frolicking in the sunshine after waking from their winter hibernation.

The female European brown bears - called Minnie, Mana, Naya and Cinderella - spent four months in a deep slumber at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire.

During their torpor the bears' breathing, heartbeat and circulation slow right down but, as in the wild, the bears remain ready to defend their territory if needed.

Zookeeper Sarah McGregor said that in the wild most bears snooze during winter when food is scarce.

She said: “Every year we set up a specialised nutritional plan for our brown bears to make sure they get enough calories and to ensure they’re nice and fat for the winter months when they crawl into their cosy dens for a long, deep sleep.

The brown bears at Whipsnade Zoo have woken from their hibernation. Credit: Whipsnade Zoo

“Every so often the girls would briefly wake up and poke their head out, or maybe even wander outside to explore their paddock, before going back for another sleep.

"But now we can officially say the four girls are up and at ‘em.”

Since they have been awake the bears have been busy playing in their enclosure.

Ms McGregor added: “As a young group they’re very active and enjoy swimming, running, climbing trees, as well as playing with each other.

“Our bears are great ambassadors for their species. Sadly, some European brown bears are at risk of extinction in the wild due to human-wildlife conflict and loss of habitat.”

The brown bears at Whipsnade Zoo have been in hibernation for four months. Credit: Whipsnade Zoo

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