Calls to put Wojtek statue near London Road

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HERITAGE chiefs have urged organisers behind the Wojtek “Soldier Bear” memorial to site it near London Road rather than Princes Street Gardens.

Edinburgh World Heritage argued the value of the statue was to encourage people to explore the world heritage site and said positioning the £250,000 bronze tribute on Hillside Crescent would be “welcomed by the community”.

Planners are set to back the statue of Wojtek, right, a Nazi-fighting brown bear who became the pride of the Polish infantry before ending his days at 
Edinburgh Zoo, next week.

Under the current plan, the long-awaited statue of Wojtek – an unlikely recruit in the Second World War who is said to have carried boxes of live shells to gun emplacements – would be put in Princes Street Gardens.

Wojtek – meaning “smiling warrior” – became attached to the Polish Second Corps in Persia in 1942 when a shepherd boy traded him for tinned meat.