Curious bears playing in the Swan Boat at Woburn Safari Park after rain ponds form in their area

A group of bears at a Bedfordshire safari park were spotted playing with a pedalo after heavy rains created a temporary lake in their enclosure.

Staff at Woburn Safari Park decided to borrow a swan-shaped pedalo to give to the bears – and the fuzzy animals did not disappoint.

The group of bears could be seen climbing into the boat, until all four seats onboard were occupied.

Tommy Babington, deputy head of the carnivores section at Woburn Safari Park, said: ‘There’s been so much wet weather this year that a new mini lake has formed in the black bears drive-through at Woburn Safari Park, so we had the idea of turning this into interesting enrichment for them.’

The park is home to adult male Chuck, as well as three females named Indiana, Phoenix, and Dixie – and the sleuth also includes juvenile male Koda, and females Georgia and Denver.

The North American black bears require a lot of stimulation to keep them busy, especially during the summer months.

And the species loves to play – especially as young cubs – for reasons ranging from stimulating brain development, increasing cardiovascular fitness and burning off excess energy.

The North American Bear Centre explained this: ‘Some bear cubs play long and hard. Others play much less. Each has its own personality.’

Mr Babington added: ‘It was great fun for visitors to see them climb on board, and we love devising new ways to provide food, scent and habitat enrichment that stimulates their natural foraging behaviours.’

Black bears are a curious species – one even helped himself to an entire box of cupcakes in a car park.

In total, the bear destroyed 60 cupcakes and a ‘bunch of coconut cake’, the shop said.

But they seemed to embrace the encounter, releasing ‘bear’ themed treats just days after.

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