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Two bears at Whipsnade Zoo have woken up just in time for the attraction’s post-lockdown reopening.
In accordance with the Government’s planned lifting of certain coronavirus restrictions, the Bedfordshire zoo is due to welcome visitors again from April 12.
The awakening of two brown bears – Sleeping Beauty and her sister Cinderella – from hibernation was described as “perfect timing” by team leader Graeme Williamson.
“I know they are such a favourite of visitors to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo,” he added.
“After months of being snuggled up indoors, the bears have taken their first steps outside, eager to rediscover the world.
“We know that many families will be having a similar experience next week as restrictions lift and the zoo can be safely explored again.”
The brown bears emerged from their den on Wednesday but were not joined by enclosure-mate Snow White, who seems to have decided to stay hibernating.
The zoo is running a Facebook Live on Thursday to give people a virtual glimpse of the bears before they are able to see them in the flesh from Monday.
Zoo closures during the pandemic have cost international conservation charity ZSL around £26 million.
“We have been working so hard getting our 600-acre outdoor site ready for our visitors and we cannot wait to welcome them back,” Mr Williamson said.