News & Blog

  • 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.


    If you want to get away from it all – take a snooze high up in a tree.  That’s what this lucky bear is doing in the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Romania.   Over 60 bears have been rescued so far from small cages and poor zoos in Romania and they now live a life free of iron bars and concrete floors.  Now they have trees, huge water pools and best of all over 20 hectares of natural oak forest to explore in peace.

    These rescued bears now spend their days munching on the lush vegetation when not eating the fruit and veg given to them daily by the sanctuary staff.  They have time to splash in the pools and wander through the protected forest enclosures before looking for a comfortable place to take a rest.

    But another 20 or so bears will need to be rescued over the coming months to finally put an end to the cruel keeping of bears in small cages in Romania.  If you want to read how and why this bear sanctuary was created, why not buy the book -  Bear Sanctuary – either from this web site or from Amazon at: If you like the book please tell your friends and spread the word about the amazing work being done in Romania to protect bears from cruelty – and perhaps you could also write a review on the Amazon web site.

  • New Libearty bear sanctuary enclosure update.


    The Romanian bear sanctuary’s new 8 hectare forest enclosure is nearing completion. The entire perimeter fence has been put up and work is starting on the large fresh water pools and perimeter access roadways.  If all goes to plan the sanctuary will soon be able to start rescuing the remaining captive bears which are illegally held in private cages or in zoos that are unable to provide an adequate environment for their bears.

    The Romanian sanctuary, known locally as the Libearty Sanctuary, has recently brought in a new manager – Mr. Liviu Cioineag – who aims to use his past experience of working with the Romanian media to rescue the remaining captive bears and to create a public awareness campaign to prevent new bears from being caught from the wild and kept in illegal captivity.  Liviu is also working on some exciting new projects aimed at raising much-needed funds for the Libearty sanctuary.  They have a brand new web site and there is loads of new information about their rescued bears on their Bear Adoption pages – so please do take a look -