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Friday, 23 October 2009

Mercedes settles into her new home

Mercedes, the UK's only polar bear last week moved from her home in Edinburgh Zoo to her new home at the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kingussie.

On Monday she was available for visitors to see her in her new 4 acre home in the Highlands.

Mercedes had been in Edinburgh for 25 years. She was rescued from her native country, Canada after she was due to be shot. Unfortunately for Mercedes she had began roaming into town in search of food as she became hungry and, as polar bears are dangerous animals, this behaviour had to be discouraged.

Mercedes was captured and the number ‘39’ was painted on her coat which then allowed her to be tracked. On her third visit into the town the decision was made to shoot her. Luckily for her and us, she was rescued and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland offered her a home here at Edinburgh Zoo back in 1984.

The zoo announced their decision to move Mercedes from Edinburgh Zoo to the Highland Wildlife Park earlier this year and the costs of a new enclosure were estimated at £300,000. However, a team of soldiers from the British Army donated their time, skills and equipment to help build parts of the enclosure which drastically reduced the cost to just £75,000. The remaining funds required were raised following a successful public appeal.

We had seen on our visits to Edinburgh Zoo the preparation including the building of the crate eventually used to transport Mercedes, this was left near the enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo so she got used to it.

Staff at Edinburgh Zoo had been training Mercedes to walk into this transport crate for a few months. The crate was lifted onto a lorry and Mercedes travelled up the A9 which took around three hours.

Apparently when she arrived at the Highland Wildlife Park, she walked out of her crate and immediately began investigating her indoor dens and holding pen.

Mercedes now has a 4 acre home and we cannot wait to go and see her in the new enclosure, but here is a photo of Mercedes sleeping while still at Edinburgh Zoo taken by yours truly.

2 comments:

AMW said...

Andrew..

Nice photo...

Anyone who visits Edinburgh Zoo on a regular bases will miss Mercedes but i think most will be happy that she is in a lot more suitable environment.

Blimey she arrived in Edinburgh 2 years before i was born, she is more local than me and i was born in the burgh.

That was great reading the Army donated time and equipment resulting in reduced costs for her new home in the Highlands.

I watched her on the STV news and she looked very happy in her new home.

Well she is one local that i and many others will miss but i think we are all happy that she has now got a home with a little more freedom to wonder about in.. :)

Alison said...

I will miss Mercedes but hope to go to see her up North in a few weeks. Glad the journey wasn't too traumatic for her.

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