Deep in the far west of Cornwall, England, Minnie, a typical Himalayan bear, is sleeping peacefully through the winter, unaware that she may not survive to enjoy waking in the spring. Her owner, Mr. Ken Trengoved, has been told that unless he pays a £153.60  license fee, the bear he has owned since she was born may have to be destroyed. 

To Mr. Trengoved, however, the demand represents an impossible amount, for he has only an old-age pension on which to live. The local authorities have only recently found out about Minnie and have to demand a fee according to the law: the Dangerous Wildlife Act, 1976.

Mr. Trengoved, who lives in a caravan in the mountains, said: “The last thing in the world I want to lose is Minnie, who has been my friend for 20 years. She is only halfway through her life.” Minnie, who stands more than 2 metres tall and weighs 180 kg, is kept nearby the caravan, in a secure cage within a wired area which she shares with dogs, cats, horses and rabbits.

Mr. Trengoved said: “I love animals but Minnie is special. Even if she was taken away to somewhere else, I don’t think she would live long, for this is her home.”  Mr. Bob Reason, the local health officer, said: “We have no option but to collect this license fee. If Mr. Trengoved cannot find the money, then perhaps a new home could be found for Minnie in a zoo or circus. The last thing we would like to do is to destroy her.”

He said the license fee was high because to comply with the law, the bear would have to be examined by a veterinarian specializing in wild animals. Mr. Reason said that since Minnie’s story had become known, some local people had contacted the authorities offering financial help to Mr. Trengoved, so it is possible that this story will have a happy outcome. Our hopes no doubt will be shared by Minnie, who, deep in  hibernation, is probably dreaming of honey.


Mark the best choice.

1. Which of the following could be an alternative title?

a) Circus Bear Released c) Dangerous Bear Destroyed b) Bear in Danger d) Ministry Forbids Bear
2. Minnie is

a) 20 years old c) a baby bear b) lives in the Himalayas d) lives in a cave in Cornwall

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