FOUR PAWS has been active in Croatia since 2014, working to improve the situation of brown bears in captivity. Today, six bears are still being kept in conditions unsuited to their species in the vicinity of restaurants or in private or unlicensed mini zoos. Until autumn 2017, national legislation allowed bears to be kept privately and without an official permit. FOUR PAWS has worked over the past years to eliminate this grey zone and criminalise the keeping of brown bears in an inadequate environment. Now more animals can be rescued from captivity in poor conditions.
A major milestone
As of 1 January 2019, the keeping of brown bears in Croatia outside scientifically managed and officially licensed zoos and wildlife rescue centres is banned.
Now the goal of FOUR PAWS, together with the Croatian government, is to end the illegal keeping of bears in captivity!
Timeline of our activities and achievements
The team rescued and transferred Suzana and Bruno to Bear Refuge Kuterevo on the western coast of Croatia. While another transfer might prove too exhausting for senior bear Bruno, FOUR PAWS is planning to bring Suzana to one of its own bear sanctuaries in the future.
The Croatian Ministry of Agriculture and FOUR PAWS sign a joint declaration of intent with the goal of ending the keeping of bears in Croatia in conditions unsuited to the species.
FOUR PAWS conducts a research trip to Croatia in order to document the current situation of bears in captivity.
The Croatian government adopts a new animal welfare law that bans the keeping and display of bears outside scientifically managed and officially licensed zoos and wildlife rescue centres from 1 January 2019. (A transitional period until the end of 2018 is set for the affected owners).
May 2015 – October 2017
A lack of amendments on the legislative level stops FOUR PAWS from being able to help more Croatian bears kept in conditions unsuited to the species.
FOUR PAWS rescues two brown bears from the run-down Split Zoo and transfers them to the newly built outdoor enclosure at the Bear Refuge Kuterevo.
FOUR PAWS is co-organiser of a symposium in Zagreb at which representatives of the responsible ministries and experts discuss further steps to end the keeping of bears in Croatia in conditions unsuited to their species.
FOUR PAWS and the Croatian Bear Refuge Kuterevo sign a joint cooperation agreement with the intention of ending the captivity of bears in Croatia in conditions unsuited to their species. FOUR PAWS agrees to fund the construction of an outdoor enclosure at the Bear Refuge Kuterevo.