June 11, 2019 – After weeks of negotiations with the Kosovo Ministry of Environment, the global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has been able to bring an orphaned bear cub, previously kept in a box, to its BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina. The bear, only a few months old, was found by a private individual in Kosovo at the end of February 2019. Although the authorities promised to bring him back to his mother, FOUR PAWS discovered the male bear in the filthy basement of a restaurant in Sharr National Park. Now safe in the FOUR PAWS-owned BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina, the young bear finds shelter and a species-appropriate home.
“We thank the Kosovo Ministry of Environment and Agency for Environment Protection for the trust in our professionalism to continue with the right treatment for the cub, and for the overall cooperation in this case. We remain hopeful that this cooperation will develop further in the future, so that such cases are treated professionally and timely.”
Afrim Mahmuti, Manager of the FOUR PAWS BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina
The young bear will have minimal human contact at the sanctuary. In six to nine months, the team will re-evaluate his condition and decide whether he can be released into the wild.
Kept in a basement for almost three months
The bear cub was found by a Kosovar in front of his house at the end of February 2019 and handed over to the authorities.
Authorities offered assurances that the bear would be taken back to Sharr National Park and reunited with his mother. However, the FOUR PAWS team discovered by chance that the young bear was still being kept in the basement of a restaurant by the National Park management.
In a small wooden box, the bear barely saw any daylight and had no room to move around. FOUR PAWS immediately contacted the authorities and urged them to rescue the bear from these inappropriate conditions. After weeks of back and forth, the negotiations finally led to a common understanding in early June 2019 and the bear was handed over to FOUR PAWS BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina.
BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina: Home of traumatized bears
The 2.5 acre BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina is located about 12+ miles outside the Kosovar capital. Including the bear cub, 20 brown bears are currently living at the sanctuary. They were previously kept as so-called "restaurant bears" in Kosovo and Albania; they now live an appropriate life in large, natural enclosures. The task of the sanctuary, which was opened in 2013, also includes educational work. Visitors can see the bears in their natural environment and learn more about them and other species.