News & Blog

  • Libearty Sanctuary Officially Opened

    Libearty Bear Sanctuary – officially opened in May 2014

    The Libearty bear sanctuary located in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, Romania – was officially opened on May 14th 2014.  Work there has progressed since 2005 to create Europe’s largest bear sanctuary and today it has around 30 hectares of oak forested enclosures where 78 rescued bears live a free and happy life.

    The opening event was attended by Cristina Lapis (President of the AMP who manage the sanctuary) and Mike Baker (CEO of the WSPA who designed and financed most of the construction and running costs of the sanctuary).  Mayors from Zarnesti and Brasov as well as Ministers from the Romanian government came to give the sanctuary its official opening.

    Romanian and foreign tourists can now visit the sanctuary to see the bears – see below if you want to make a visit. 

    The sanctuary has added attractions to make a visit an unforgettable experience – a tree-top observation platform, a small church (the only one in Romania which will hold animal blessings), a ‘bear-train’ to take you around the sanctuary and even a real North American Wigwam which will be used to host school children’s educational visits.

     There are still a few bears to rescue from illegal captivity in Romania and these will soon join the others for a peaceful life at the sanctuary.


    If you want to visit the sanctuary and see the bears for yourself, take a look at the sanctuary website at: .  The tours start each day from Tuesday to Sunday from 9, 10 and 11 AM. Please make your visiting reservations by calling the sanctuary main office in Brasov on: +40 268 471 202, or by email:

    You can also read the full story of the rescued bears in the book – Bear Sanctuary

  • Bear Hugs


    Gina and Sophia are sisters, born in the forests of Romania in early 2006.  But these young European brown bears were caught by hunters just after they emerged from their winter den with their mother, and were sold to a mini-zoo which used the cuddly cubs as a tourist attraction, along with several adult bears and a lion.

    Luckily for these sisters the Romanian bear sanctuary found out about them and were able to legally confiscate the cubs just a few months later, along with the other animals.  Gina and Sophia now live with over 70 rescued bears in the huge forest sanctuary high up on the hills above the town of Zarnesti.  As the photo shows, they still enjoy a sisterly get together now and then and are looking quite grown up at the age of 9 years old.

    If you want to see more photos of Gina and Sophia – take a look at: and why not adopt them and get a certificate to show your support of Europe’s biggest bear sanctuary?


    If you want to visit the sanctuary and see the bears for yourself, take a look at the sanctuary website at: .  The tours start each day from Tuesday to Sunday from 9, 10 and 11 AM. Please make your visiting reservations by calling the sanctuary main office in Brasov on: +40 268 471 202, or by email:

    You can also read the full story of Gina and Sophia in the book – Bear Sanctuary

  • Thinking about hibernation.

    Winter bed-time.

    As winter draws in and the weather gets colder the bears at the Libearty bear sanctuary in Romania have one thought on their minds – sleep.  The sanctuary staff provide lots more food at this time of the year so the bears fatten up and get ready for their long winter sleep.  The bears are able to sleep for a few months during the snowy weather as they live off their fat stored from the past weeks of eating everything in sight.

    Now they are sleepy and are looking for a den to snooze away the winter, just as the wild bears are doing in the mountains around the bear sanctuary.  Some bears in the sanctuary will sleep deep inside dens they have dug for themselves, while some will sleep in a large ‘bird’s nest’ of branches they have pulled together on the ground. But as the sanctuary staff always make sure there is food for the bears throughout the winter, some of the bears fight the urge to sleep and stay up throughout the snowy weather and seem to enjoy playing in the snow.  But most bears are very sleepy around now and doze off at any opportunity.

    Don’t forget – if you want to give someone a special Christmas present this year – 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 Christmas gift, and maybe next year you could even make a visit to the Libearty bear sanctuary to see the bears enjoying their freedom.  

  • If you go down to the woods today - in Romania - you are in for a big surprise!

    Visit the Romanian bear sanctuary.

    If you go down to the woods today you are sure of a big surprise!  That is if you go to the oak woods above the town of Zarnesti in Romania where the Libearty Bear Sanctuary is now open to the public.

    The sanctuary has over 70 rescued brown bears all living a carefree life in the huge expanse of oak and hazel forests that make up the Libearty bear sanctuary.  All of the bears were rescued from cruel and illegal captive conditions in Romania and now they spend their days lazing in the grassy meadows or playing together in the huge water pools.  Some even climb the trees to sit and watch the action from their vantage point. 

    The sanctuary has now built a small visitor centre to welcome guests who want to see the bears and to learn about the history of the sanctuary. Visitors will join groups that are taken around the sanctuary by guides who tell the story of the bears.  There is a small entrance fee and souvenirs are available to purchase.  All their income is used to care for the bears and to rescue new bears.

     If you want to make a visit take a look at the sanctuary website at: .  During the summer time, the tours start each day from Tuesday to Sunday from 9, 10 and 11 AM. Please make your visiting reservations by calling the sanctuary main office in Brasov on: +40 268 471 202, or by email:

    This is no teddy bears’ picnic – it is a real story of a successful project to protect bears in Romania.  You won’t be disappointed.  You can also read about it in the book – Bear Sanctuary.

  • Andreas – oldest bear in the world dies in Greek sanctuary.

    Andreas, a European brown bear, was born in the northern forests of Greece sometime around 1963 but instead of living the rest of his life in the forests he was caught as a cub and cruelly trained to stand up and shuffle around as if dancing – for the entertainment of tourists, and for the next 30 years he was dragged around the streets of Greek towns by a chain through his nose and forced to perform his sad dance.  Andreas was one of the last dancing bears used in Greece. His gypsy owners kept him chained and fed him little but Andreas survived this life of torment until the winter morning in January 1993 when he was rescued as part of the project to eradicate the cruel trade in dancing bears from Greece.  He was taken to the newly created bear sanctuary in northern Greece which was managed by the Greek environmental group called Arcturos.

    Andreas was blind and very old at around 30 years of age.  In the wild, bears live maybe 20 years but as their teeth break or fall out and their health decreases they tend to die of natural causes before the age of 25.  But Andreas, despite his age, survived another 20 years in the beautiful forested bear sanctuary in the mountains of northern Greece.  He shared a large forest enclosure with a number of other rescued dancing bears and he was able to feel the grass beneath his paws and the fresh water of a pool while being provided with all the food and veterinary care he needed in his old age.

    Arcturos said that Andreas died peacefully in his den on May 24th 2013 which meant he was about 50 years of age – maybe a year or so over that.  As far as Arcturos is aware this made Andreas the oldest bear ever to be kept in captivity, certainly the oldest in a bear sanctuary.  It is a testament to Arcturos that this aged bear lived so long as he was given the best care during his time at the sanctuary.  Andreas was a popular sight for the many visitors to the Greek bear sanctuary and they even made a special Andreas teddy bear to be sold as a souvenir of such a visit.

    There are still 10 rescued bears living in the Greek sanctuary and Arcturos does an amazing amount of educational work to teach children about the need to protect wildlife.  They also carry out many projects aimed at protecting bears, wolves and other native Greek wildlife. 

    But they need more support.  If you want to help Arcturos care for their rescued bears and continue to work on their educational and wildlife protection programmes you can make a donation through their web site or even adopt one of their rescued bears. 

    See: and: