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A new furry guest will be welcomed to Reykjavík’s Family Park & Zoo today!

The trained circus bear, which comes from Norway, will stay for the summer season before returning home, where he’s been entertaining people for years. During this period the Circus of Iceland are planning a national tour with the talented bear, who can, amongst other tricks, do the hula-hoop and ride a cycle. Caution and patience will be key to the bears wellbeing in Iceland as he must be given time to develop trust and bond with his new handlers. The bear’s owner and trainer will be accompanying him on this first trip to Iceland and will introduce him to the circus ensemble.

The bear, who was released from quarantine today, will begin his tour of Iceland in June, but until then will be resident at the Family Park & Zoo.

Tómas Óskar Guðjónsson, a spokesperson for the Zoo & Family Park, is absolutely thrilled by the arrival of the bear, and said, “although the Zoo has been active in broadening its horizons with exotic species such as reptiles and a snake, the arrival of the bear is a more ambitious project and will provide some much-needed experience, especially if we’re ever going to get the polar bear we were promised a few years ago”. He added, “Circus bears are also more manageable and tamer than polar bears, not to mention more talented”.

“It’s been extremely difficult to keep this project a secret”, says Lee Nelson - director of the circus, “but we didn’t want to announce anything until it was 100% certain that it would go ahead. We’ve encountered a number of obstacles, not only regarding the transportation of the animal, but also because of strict importation regulations.”

“This is by far the most ambitious project TVG – Zimzen has undertaken”, says Björn Einarsson, Director of TVG-Zimsen – the company responsible for importing the bear and all the equipment for the circus production and tour.

Will the bear get an Icelandic name?

“His name is Bamse, but why not call him Bangsi (Teddy)?” Says Margret, a spokeswoman for the project. She added, “Bangsi is a very social creature and is very much looking forward to meeting his new Icelandic friends, especially after his long and lonely stay in quarantine.

In celebration of his arrival at the Family Park & Zoo, entrance is free of charge between 16:00 – 17:00 for all those who show up with a teddy bear!