World’s saddest bears bred to be hunted caged in pits live dream thanks to you

These two magnificent bears have just woken up from their big winter sleep.

Fluff and Scruff were bred to be hunted and used to be chained up in concrete pits, where they were prevented from going into their natural hibernation.

But after we exposed their cruel fate, readers gave more than £10,000 for the bears to be transported from Bulgaria to a dream home in Kent, where they now live exactly as they would in the wild.

Watching Fluff and Scruff wake from their “torpor” is a big calendar event at the Wildwood Trust.

This year Covid meant only the keepers got to see it.

But as these exclusive pictures show, it was a joyful moment of wonder last week as the bears shook off their slumber and explored their 1.5-acre woodland territory once again.

The Trust’s Mark Habben said: “The bears coming out of torpor is one of the highlights of the year.

“Normally we’d have a big event, with lots of visitors, but the bears missed the attention this year.”

Bulgaria’s barbaric bear breeding practice was outlawed when the country joined the EU in 2007.

Like many bears, Fluff and Scruff, once called Milcho and Gosho, were abandoned to an uncertain fate until we exposed their appalling conditions in remote Kormishosh.

Wildwood Trust vets drove them across Europe to their idyllic new home near Canterbury.

To prepare for the big sleep, European bears can pile on 180kg of fat in the autumn.

During torpor their heart rates slow down, their body temperatures drop and they do not eat or drink.

Fluff and Scruff spend the winter in a den area and are let back out into their enclosure when they show signs of coming out of torpor.

Mark said: “You never tire of seeing them exploring their home after a long winter’s sleep.

It’s almost like seeing cows coming on to grass again in spring.”