Five Sisters Zoo appeals for donations for rescued bears

Wojtek the soldier bear knew many tricks as it was claimed he was tame. Picture by Imperial War Museum

The West Lothian zoo is appealing for £60,000 to be raised for three former circus bears.

Carmen, Suzi and Peggy are currently in a holding pen in Belgium where they have been held in cages barely bigger then themselves.

For the last 20 years they have been transported around Europe as part of a circus act. The small zoo hopes to raise enough money to bring the bears to Scotland so they can live out their lives in space and peace.

This brings new debates over the laws of circus animals in the UK. While no animal circuses can be based in the UK, it does not stop others touring. There is a fear that tighter laws will come into force in England and encouraging some of them to also come to Scotland.

Four Famous bears:

Sooty has been making children laugh for generations and is a household name. Presenting his own TV show, along with Sweep, and performing magic the small bear has appeared in both children’s and adult’s programmes alike.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang the Giant Pandas who found fame in Scotland as they are the only Giant Pandas in the UK. They still have a waiting list at Edinburgh Zoo.

Paddington Bear is perhaps the oldest bear on our list and is famous for his love of marmalade. Paddington has become a cultural symbol for Britain and can be found in many tourist shops.

Wojtek the Soldier Bear – While the Polish army were travelling to Iran the soldiers came across a bear cub in the mountains. The soldiers took the cub in and he became part of the 4th Platoon where he developed a taste for beer and cigarettes. He often wrestled many of the soldiers, though few dared take him on. After the war in 1945 many of the soldiers settled in Europe, Wojtek moved into Edinburgh Zoo where his picture can still be found on the reception wall.