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Napa, the last Serbian circus bear, finally experiences nature

8/15/2018

After a long journey the first bear moved in Arosa Bear Sanctuary

Today, Bear Napa roams the several thousand square foot outdoor enclosure in Arosa Bear Sanctuary, where he can also cool down in the pond or retire to his cozy bear box. But this was not always the case: Napa was born in a zoo in 2006 and joined the Serbian circus Corona as a young bear. 

It is not known whether he actually had to perform in the circus arena or not. In contrast to other countries, the ban of wild animals in circuses has been in force in Serbia since 2009. Therefore we assume that Napa was just kept for years in a small cage on the circus grounds. 

Napa had a small amount of muscle mass at the time of confiscation. This was an indication that he had hardly any freedom of movement for years. His cage was dirty with food leftovers and garbage and so small and low that the bear could not even stand up and turn properly.

This suffering is fortunately over as FOUR PAWS was able to rescue him and transfer him to the Arosa Bearland in July 2018.

The rescue team was on the road with Napa for around 28 hours. Over 1,400 km had to be covered from Serbia to Arosa, Switzerland. As the bear sanctuary is located in the ski area and thus at over 2000 above sea level, the transport box had to be moved to the gondola for the last part of the journey.

Napa's journey to Arosa

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Finally, a life adapted to the natural needs of Bear Napa

After his arrival, the 596 lbs brown bear was medically examined and was put in an acclimatization enclosure. Here he could get used to his new freedom of movement and explore the area. The veterinarian and bear keepers also had the opportunity to observe him closely during this phase. After about three weeks, Napa was allowed to explore the outdoor enclosure for the first time. He was not shy at all and inquired the meadows, forests, ponds and streams curiously at the nearly 13,000 square foot enclosure. The size and vegetation of the enclosure allows Napa to live a life as adapted as possible to the natural needs of bears.

"Napa's reaction to the new environment shows how important it is to provide bears with a natural environment. Wild animals kept in small cages, concrete enclosures or circuses can never experience their natural instincts and character. Napa still has a chance of a happy life, but there are still many bears in captivity around the world."

Carsten Hertwig, bear expert at FOUR PAWS

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