Bear and Romanian bear sanctuary

Three new bears rescued and brought to Romanian bear sanctuary


The three five year-old sibling European brown bears were born in an overpopulated zoo. Now that they’ve been transported out of the confined space, their lives have been transformed.

At the zoo, they were kept in an old enclosure which was in much worse condition than the spaces provided for the other bears. There was no enrichment to give them anything to do all day except pace.

If there was no option for them to move into a safe, natural environment such as the Romanian bear sanctuary, the three bears may have been sold to poorer zoos, or may have even faced euthanasia. These ‘solutions’ are unfortunately fairly typical for zoos that no longer see their animals as cute or young enough to attract visitors.

When the zoo was forced to abide by EU standards that dictate how much space a bear needs, Asociatia Milioane de Prieteni (AMP), the organisation we partnered with to build the sanctuary, were asked to take them in. Cristina Lapis, President of AMP, agreed to take them provided the zoo agreed to stop breeding bears. Luckily, they have now managed to escape the sad fate that so many other captive bears around the world experience.

It was a cold, foggy day when sanctuary staff went to Timisoara zoo to bring back the two brothers and their sister. And after a six hour drive from the zoo to the sanctuary, all three bears eventually made it safely to their new home.

For a short time they are being kept in an area away from the other bears in order to make sure they’re healthy, well-adapted, and ready to meet their soon-to-be sanctuary mates. Once this period is complete, they’ll get to share over 69 hectares of rich oak forest, pools and meadows with the other 80 rescued bears at the sanctuary.

In addition to this new area that’s vastly larger than the space they’ve been used to, the bears will have all the food they need and expert vets to monitor their health.

The siblings don’t have names yet but will be given them soon to reflect their personalities and to mark the beginning of their new life in this beautiful forested enclosure.

Find out more about the work we do for bears and other wild animals on our Animals in the wild page.

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