Guest Blog: FOUR PAWS UK’s rescue of two bears in Croatia

Learn how FOUR PAWS in Croatia rescued brown bears Suzana and Bruno and rehomed them in a species-appropriate bear refuge

23rd July 2019

Our friends at FOUR PAWS UK have written about a recent rescue of two ageing bears in Croatia.

After years of being kept illegally in eastern Croatia, Suzana and Bruno, who are approximately 20 and 40 respectively, have finally been rescued. The duo was among the last five inappropriately kept brown bears in Croatia and in the wake of new animal protection law coming into force at the beginning of the year we were finally able to rescue them from the tiny cages they’d been inhabiting.

Suzana and Bruno are now living at a new species-appropriate home at the Croatian FOUR PAWS – partner Bear Refuge Kuterevo. The FOUR PAWS team on-site, led by veterinarian Marc Gölkel from Leibnitz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), rescued Suzana first from an unlicensed family zoo and then went on to rescue Bruno from another unlicensed family zoo in Cerna.

Bruno’s health, however, is not as good. He is clearly underweight for a bear of his stature and his teeth are in very bad condition. In combination with his poor health and presumably old age, it is important to monitor him closely over the next few months,” says vet Marc.

Thankfully the team rescued and transferred both bears within one day without any problems. Now Bear Refuge Kuterevo on the western coast of Croatia will make sure that Suzana and Bruno receive all the care they need. 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.

We’re one step closer to the ending the illegal private keeping of bears in Croatia

At present, three other bears are being kept in conditions unsuited to their species near a restaurant and in one unlicensed mini zoo in Croatia. FOUR PAWS is monitoring the progress on the legal status of these bears and, is ready to provide a temporary or lasting home for them all.

'Saddest Bears' Campaign: End Bear Suffering in Europe

Many bears in Europe spend their lives in agonising surroundings, kept in tiny cages near restaurants or hotels, where they are exhibited as tourist attractions. The cramped, inappropriate living conditions are very stressful for the animals both physically and mentally. FOUR PAWS intends to put an end to the cruel keeping of bears in Croatia as part of its 'Saddest Bears' campaign.

Take a look at the video below to see how we've helped FOUR PAWS rescue even more bears. 

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