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bears in albania

3.4.2019

The cruel keeping of bears in captivity finally set to end in 2019

When FOUR PAWS began its work in Albania in 2015, more than 30 bears were living a miserable existence cooped up in tiny cages next to restaurants or hotels where they were put on show to attract tourists. These confined conditions in an environment unsuited to the species were very stressful for the animals, both physically as well as mentally. Consequently, many of the bears were in a poor overall condition: emaciated or displaying behavioural disorders.   

A major milestone

In March 2016, FOUR PAWS signed a declaration of intent with the Albanian Environment Ministry with the goal of finding a permanent solution in line with animal welfare standards for the many Albanian bears living in captivity in catastrophic conditions. Since then, more than 30 bears have been rescued in cooperation with the Albanian authorities and other animal welfare organisations and transferred to wildlife rescue centres abroad. Ten of these bears today live in FOUR PAWS bear sanctuaries and partner projects in Kosovo, Switzerland, Germany and Bulgaria.   

Our plans in Albania

We hope that the transfer of the last three 'restaurant bears' into our care in 2019 will mark the end of the cruel keeping of bears by private owners in Albania once and for all. FOUR PAWS is continuing to work to secure improvements in Albanian legislation on wildlife protection and is supporting the government in its efforts to build a wildlife sanctuary near Tirana. FOUR PAWS considers the establishment of such a sanctuary as absolutely essential to be able to rescue and house bears and other wild animals in distress in an environment suited to their species, and at the same time to strengthen awareness among the population for the needs of these animals.   

FOUR PAWS HELPS ANIMALS IN DISTRESS

A new life for bears in Albania

Rescue Rocco

FOUR PAWS rescues bears from a tiny cage in Albania

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Rescue Dushi

A new beginning for bear Dushi at our BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz

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Rescuing Luna

FOUR PAWS brings Albanian female bear Luna to safety

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Jeta

A new home for one of Europe's saddest bears

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Riku's new life

At last the former dancing bear can enjoy a peaceful life with others of his species at BEAR SANCTUARY Belitsa

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WHAT FOUR PAWs has achieved in Albania so far:

2019

June 2019

Rocco has arrived in BEAR SANCTUARY Mueritz. After a long journey, the rescued bear from Albania is finally at his new home. 

April 2019

The three-legged bear Dushi rescued from illegal Safari Park Zoo Fier in Albania in October 2018, arrives at BEAR SANCTUARY Müritz in Germany. Shortly after her arrival at the sanctuary she already starts to explore her new natural environment.

February 2019

Meimo and Amelia, two of the last Albanian restaurant bears, find a new home at Arosa Bear Sanctuary.

2018

October 2018

Jointly with Albanian authorities, FOUR PAWS saves twelve wild animals, including three lions and a bear, from 'Europe's worst zoo' – the illegal Safari Zoo Park in Fier. The animals are provisionally sheltered in the capital at Tirana Zoo.  

May 2018

On the occasion of the opening of the new environment education centre at BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina, the Albanian Ministry for Tourism and Environment again stresses its intention to build a bear and wildlife sanctuary near Tirana in cooperation with FOUR PAWS. 

January 2018

More than 25 bears have been rescued in cooperation with Albanian authorities and other animal welfare organisations and transferred to wildlife rescue centres abroad. 

2017

November 2017

FOUR PAWS submits 424,691 signatures demanding a state ban on the cruel keeping of bears in Albania to the new Albanian minister of tourism and the environment.  

August 2017

A total six bears rescued in Albania now live in FOUR PAWS bear sanctuaries in Kosovo, Germany and Bulgaria. 

May 2017

FOUR PAWS transfers bear Riku to the DANCING BEARS PARK Belitsa. Until then, the bear had been held privately as a 'pet' in an Albanian mountain village. FOUR PAWS already freed Riku, who was kept chained up in a small hut, in December 2016.  

February 2017

FOUR PAWS becomes a member of the 'Save Albanian Bears' coalition. Together with other animal and environmental protection organisations, as well as state institutions, the coalition advocates ending the cruel keeping of bears in captivity in Albania. 

2016

November 2016

FOUR PAWS saves two more bears from life in terrible conditions: 'amusement park bear' Luna and 'selfie' bear Jeta, who was kept in a small shed next to her owner's house.

August 2016

FOUR PAWS launches an online petition in order to draw attention to the suffering of the caged bears in Albania and appeals to the Albanian Environment Ministry to introduce legal amendments to protect these animals.   

August 2016

In cooperation with Albanian authorities, FOUR PAWS rescues three of Albania's saddest bears: 'restaurant bears' Tomi, Pashuk and Gjina. A month later, the three animals are transferred to BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina.

July 2016

The sad story of 'Tomi the beer bear', held in a small cage next to a restaurant in northern Albania, goes around the world.

March 2016

FOUR PAWS signs a declaration of intent with the Albanian Environment Ministry with the joint goal of finding a permanent solution in line with animal welfare standards for the many Albanian bears living in captivity in catastrophic conditions.