News & Blog

  • Is spring here yet?
    Time to wake up
    Spring is here and the bears in the Romanian bear sanctuary are now all awake after their winter hibernation. Some are still finding it a little difficult to get going but the smell of the fresh growing grass and vegetation in the forest sanctuary is enough to tempt any bear to wake up and start snacking.
    There are now 70 rescued bears at the Romanian bear sanctuary – living in massive enclosures of oak forest. The sanctuary staff will have to provide over a ton of food a day to supplement the fresh natural vegetation the bears enjoy eating. As they wake from hibernation they need to start fattening up as some of the bears will have slept for a couple of months through the snowy winter and will have used their fat reserves to keep them alive through their hibernation. Many of the bears will have lost weight and now they need to pile on the pounds again to give them the energy to roam the forest, swim in the pools and climb the trees – quite a stress-free life for these once-caged bears.
    But more bears need to be rescued this year. There are still some bears kept as pets in tiny cages fed on waste food. The bear sanctuary will work with the Romanian authorities to legally confiscate these animals. So - if you want to help please make a donation or ‘adopt a bear’ through the Romanian bear sanctuary’s web site at:
  • Fun in the snow - January 2013

    Fun in the snow.

    Yes you are right – most brown bears should be sleeping during these cold snowy days as they would normally hibernate through the winter and re-emerge from their dens when the snow has disappeared and the fresh vegetation is available to eat in the springtime.  But at the Libearty bear sanctuary in Romania there are always a few bears who prefer to play rather than sleep.

    The staff at the sanctuary provide food for the bears throughout the year – even when it is snowing.  So some of the bears realise they don’t need to hide away in winter dens and seem to like to play in the snow with their companions – stopping only to snack on some apples or carrots generously supplied by the sanctuary.

    These two bears clearly don’t feel the cold – they have thick fur coats and also an enjoyment for life that they are now able to display after being rescued from a life of misery in cramped cages.   So why shouldn’t they spend a little time chilling out with a pal?

    There are now over 60 rescued bears living in the forested Romanian bear sanctuary – but another 20 bears need to be rescued this year – so if you want to help please make a donation or  ‘adopt a bear’ through their web site at:

  • Alesha Dixon and Asher Keddie help to rescue caged bears

    Singer Alesha Dixon and Australian actress Asher Keddie travelled to Romania recently to see the amazing work of the Romanian bear sanctuary.  They went to a run-down zoo in the north of the country to help the bear sanctuary take 3 bears from their rusted zoo cages to a new life in the forested bear sanctuary in the mountains of Transylvania.

    A number of zoos have had to close down in Romania as they do not comply with the new European zoo regulations.  But bears in some of these zoos have been given a lifeline when they are re-homed in the bear sanctuary where they can begin to live as bears again rather than as caged animals. 

    All three bears had spent the past 8 years in one small zoo cage the size of two car parking spaces. The only shelter was a small den at the back of the cage – not nearly large enough to allow for three bears to rest or get respite from the extreme Romanian weather. 

    One of the bears had been abandoned at the zoo as a cub after hunters had probably killed his mother. The trauma had dramatic and visible effects on the bear; found chewing, licking and biting continuously on a metal bar, breaking his teeth and causing a permanent mark on his face.

    Alesha assisted the sanctuary team, helping to tempt the nervous bears into a transport cage with fruit and honey.  She said: “I was absolutely horrified by the conditions at the zoo. I’ll never forget the sight of the bears mournfully pacing around their cramped cage. You could tell they’d suffered truly miserable lives.  It was heart breaking that they’d never had the chance to move freely, climb a tree or even hibernate.”

    “But it fills me with hope for the future that groups like WSPA and the Romanian bear sanctuary are working to end this cruel practice. I hope the public give generously to WSPA’s Big Bear Rescue Christmas appeal.   I can’t think of a more special gift than to give bears like these the gift of freedom at the sanctuary.”

    See a video of Alesha Dixon at the bear sanctuary at:

  • Zoo bears moved to Romania sanctuary

    Photos show the old zoo cage where 3 bears lived for 8 years

    Now that the Romanian bear sanctuary has additional forest space, the sanctuary staff are planning to rescue the remaining bears kept in poor captive conditions in Romania.  In late October 3 bears were moved to the bear sanctuary from Onesti zoo, in central Romania, where they had lived together for 8 years in one small cage. 

    This zoo had been closed for several years as they were unable to comply with European regulations which require improved conditions for animals kept in zoos.  Yet even though closed, the zoo had kept the bears as they were hoping to improve their zoo at some stage.  But finally the Onesti Zoo manager agreed to let the bears be taken to the forested sanctuary above the town of Zarnesti in Transylvania.

    The bear sanctuary team spent two days driving hundreds of kilometres to and from the zoo to bring the bears to the sanctuary.  Now all three bears are having their first taste of freedom in the quarantine area which gives them access to trees, earth and a water pool for the first time in their lives.   

    Before long, these three bears will be ready to join the many other rescued bears in the 27 hectares of forested sanctuary – the largest bear sanctuary in Europe.


  • Romania bear sanctuary - new forest enclosure finished

    In October 2012 the final forested enclosure in the Romanian bear sanctuary was completed.  The new area in the sanctuary is the size of 8 rugby pitches and has water pools and den areas and is full of oak and hazel trees.  With this additional space the sanctuary now has around 27 hectares of forested land protected by perimeter fences as a home for rescued bears. This massive area of forest is where the bears will now live their lives in peace in a natural area where they can at last walk on grass, dig in the earth, swim in large pools and even climb trees – often for the first time in their lives.

    Now that the new enclosure is ready, the sanctuary can rescue the remaining bears kept in illegal captive conditions in Romania.  Around 20 additional bears are on the sanctuary’s list to rescue - some are kept in small cages as pets or as attractions, while others are languishing in old zoos that are no longer capable of caring for their animals.  Over the coming months these bears will join the 65 bears already enjoying life in the forest sanctuary.