News & Blog

  • 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:

  • 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: