News & Blog

  • Sochi bears are freed from the restaurant cage.

    Sochi bears are freed from the restaurant cage.

    Two old bears who had spent 20 years in a filthy cage outside a restaurant in Sochi, Russia, have now been freed thanks to a 130,000 signature international petition calling on the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources to move the bears from their illegal captivity.

    World Animal Protection and Big Heart Foundation urged the authorities to move the bears from the rusted cage, where restaurant visitors had taunted the animals and fed them food scraps and beer. The Milioane de Prieteni group (AMP), who manage the Libearty bear sanctuary in Romania, offered space at their forested sanctuary in the Carpathian Mountains as a retirement home for the bears.

    The Russian authorities have now decided to move the bears and have sent them to an animal rescue shelter in Moscow.

    The Moscow animal shelter has other bears in its care so the Sochi bears will now have a more relaxed life and a better diet.  The AMP are still offering to take the bears to their forest sanctuary and are awaiting a response from the Moscow shelter, as the sanctuary would offer natural forest, pools and a high level of veterinary care.

    Thanks again to everyone who supported the petition to free the bears.  The international action was successful in persuading the Russian authorities to take action against the illegality of keeping bears in a cage next to a restaurant.  This is an important result as animal protection groups have tried to free bears from similar caged conditions in Russia for many years without effect.  So there is hope for bears in similar conditions in Russia as a result of the campaign to free the Sochi bears.

  • Petition to free two bears from a cage in Sochi, Russia.

    Petition to free two bears from a cage in Sochi, Russia.

    Some positive news in the campaign to help free the two old bears that have spent their lives in a filthy cage next to a restaurant in Sochi, Russia.

    The World Animal Protection are working with the Romanian bear sanctuary and with the Big Hearts Foundation to bring the two bears from Sochi to the Romanian sanctuary where they will have a large forested enclosure with a fresh water pool, warm den and good food.

    A petition is being made to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Krasnodar region, Sochi, Russia, urging them to provide the legal support to allow the bears to be moved to the Romanian sanctuary.

    You can help free these bears by signing the petition here:  Please also share this link to get more people to support the campaign.

    Photo:  Big Hearts Foundation

  • Bears caged next to a restaurant in Sochi could find sanctuary in Romania

    Bears caged next to a restaurant in Sochi could find sanctuary in Romania

    Two European brown bears have lived a miserable life for 20 years in a cage next to a restaurant in Sochi, Russia, where they are used to attract customers to the restaurant.  They are fed on scraps of food and their filthy cage is littered with bottles, plastic bags and food cartons.  Visitors have even fed the bears beer for amusement.

    This situation in Sochi (which achieved world fame for hosting the 2014 Olympics) resembles the one in Romania 10 years ago, before all the bears were rescued from cages outside gas stations and restaurants.  Those lucky bears were taken to the Libearty bear sanctuary in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania and now the cruel practice of keeping bears for private entertainment in Romania is banned.

    The Libearty bear sanctuary is managed by the Romanian animal protection group called ASOCIATIA MILIOANE DE PRIETENI - AMP (Millions of Friends) and their President Cristina Lapis has now offered a space at the sanctuary for the bears from Sochi – if the Sochi authorities agree to confiscate the bears from their illegal and cruel caged life.

    The sanctuary has a 1.5 acre forest enclosure with a water pool, den and oak trees that is waiting for these bears.  All we need now is for the Sochi authorities to agree to let these bears be moved to the sanctuary – and the funds to do it.

    The AMP are working with the World Animal Protection and the Big Hearts Foundation to lobby the Russian authorities to rescue the bears from the cages.  The World Animal Protection are trying to raise the funds to move the bears from Russia to Romania (World Animal Protection ). 

    Any update on progress with this rescue operation will be reported here.

    You can read the full story of the Romanian bear sanctuary in the book – Bear Sanctuary, available at:

  • Museum of Teddy Bears at the Libearty bear sanctuary

    Libearty Teddy Bear Museum - Romania

    A new teddy bear museum will be opening in Romania later this year – at the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in central Transylvania.  The bear sanctuary is now home to 80 rescued brown bears where they live a peaceful life in an amazing forested sanctuary after being rescued from terrible captive conditions in old and dirty cages.

    Now the sanctuary is open to visitors who come to see the bears and to learn about their stories.  Schools also send classes so the children can learn about wildlife protection and animal welfare.

    As part of the visitor experience the sanctuary is now creating a museum of teddy bears which will be housed in the main building of the bear sanctuary. This will include teddy bears in National costume from many countries and also some exceptional bears made by specialist teddy bear makers from around the world.

    This museum will be the first of its kind in Romania and it is certain to be a huge attraction.  This will bring more visitors, and their entrance fees to the sanctuary will help to cover the costs of caring for the bears and rescuing others.  The rescued bears eat over a tonne of food every day – so it is an expensive business to care for all the bears.

    So watch this space for news of the Libearty Teddy Bear Museum in Romania.

    If you are a Teddy Bear maker why not make a bear or choose one from your collection to donate to the new museum?  Or if you can find a teddy bear in the National costume of your country (often on sale at airports), or with something on it to symbolise your country – that bear could also be displayed at the museum.  If you are interested in donating a teddy bear for the museum please contact us at .

    You can also read the full story of the rescued bears in the book – Bear Sanctuary, available at: .  

  • Bears in the snow

    2014 was a busy year for everyone working at the Libearty bear sanctuary in Romania.  During the year more bears were rescued from cruel and illegal captive conditions in Romania and they are now spending their first winter in the freedom of the forest sanctuary where they can experience snow on their backs and paws while walking freely through the forest sanctuary. They can sleep in a warm earth den after eating a good meal of fruit and vegetables which the sanctuary workers give the bears each day.

    There are now 80 rescued bears living in the Romanian bear sanctuary – but there are still a few more to rescue in 2015.

    If you want to give someone a special present for 2015 – why not give them a bear adoption?  See: to adopt one of the Romanian rescued bears and get an adoption certificate for a friend.  You can also get the book – Bear Sanctuary as a gift, and maybe this year you could even make a visit to the Libearty bear sanctuary to see the bears enjoying their freedom.