A well-known street artist is helping to spread the word about an exciting plan to return brown bears to an ancient woodland on the outskirts of Bristol.
He is known as ATM and specialises in wildlife paintings on walls and buildings around the world.
He spent two days creating a stunning image of three bears on a hoarding in Bristol similar to those which will be arriving at Wild Place Project’s new Bear Wood exhibit next summer.
The £5 million exhibit in the ancient woodland located to the north of the park will be home to European brown bears, lynx, wolverine and wolves.
These animals will return to where their ancestors once roamed many hundreds of years ago.
The mural, which is more than six feet high and 25 feet long, took ATM two days to complete and is near the Jessop Underpass at the junction with Frayne Road in Southville.
It was painted as part of the city’s Upfest festival and will remain in place possibly until next year’s event.
ATM has a lifelong love of nature and his giant murals of animals can be seen in London, Bristol, Poland and Norway.
He said of his mural: “I wanted to remind people that bears are native to this country. I have painted them to make people aware of the animals that used to be here.
“It is all too easy to think that environmental disasters happen elsewhere. I wanted to remind people that they can happen here.”
ATM, from London, said he liked the plans for Bear Wood as it would allow people to see the bears in a natural environment.
His mural carries the hashtag #BearWoodAppeal for donations and sponsorship for Bear Wood.
So far £3.2m has been raised towards the £5 million needed.
Wild Place Project development manager, Kate Smith, said: “This is such an eye-catching mural in such a prominent position. We are sure it makes people think of the bears that are coming to Wild Place Project and hopefully help us raise the money to create an amazing home for them.”
Teams at Bristol Zoological Society, which owns Wild Place Project and Bristol Zoo Gardens, have carefully planned the exhibit to ensure minimal impact on the woodland and creatures inside.
The ancient woodland status means that any work must compliment and protect the surroundings – meaning the bears and their fellow animals will live in an environment that is as natural as possible.
For more information about Bear Wood, or to find out about how you can support the appeal, visit our website
or contact Wild Place Projects’ development team on 0117 4285 313 or by email
For more information about ATM, and to see other examples of his work, visit his website
People are being encouraged to post a photo of themselves beside the mural to Wild Place Project’s’ Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts using the hashtag #BearWoodAppeal