The Book

Read a sample of the book here: 

A wonderfully illustrated book telling the story of how and why an oak forest in the heart of Romania became transformed into a retirement home for rescued bears.

Bear Sanctuary, written by Victor Watkins, explains what a bear sanctuary is, and why there was a need to create such a rescue and retirement centre for bears in Romania.

It tells of how young bear cubs were illegally caught from the wild and kept in small cages near petrol stations and restaurants to attract customers. It also describes how many bears were suffering from poor diets and little or no veterinary care in many zoos around the country.

With changing attitudes towards wildlife exploitation and with Romania becoming a member of the European Union, the time was right to ban the private keeping of captive bears and to close down the poorly managed zoos.

The Romanian bear sanctuary was the dream of a Romanian woman - Cristina Lapis, who persuaded the authorities to enforce the law and confiscate all illegally held bears.

The sanctuary sits in 160 acres of oak forest in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in central Transylvania. The land, donated by the nearby town of Zarnesti, provides space for more than 60 rescued bears which now live in this idyllic sanctuary. Here, they can feel the earth and grass beneath their paws, climb trees and swim in pools while feeding on a rich natural diet for the first time since they were captured from the forests as cubs.

But there are more bears in need of rescue and Cristina Lapis needs help to rescue and care for them.

Victor’s book explains how each rescued bear has its own story. He also explains what veterinary care the bears need, what their diet is in the wild and how bear cubs, orphaned through hunting, need care and rehabilitation to enable their release back to the wild.

There is also a section in the book about other bear sanctuaries around the world - in Turkey, Greece, Thailand and even in China.

The book - Bear Sanctuary - is now available in paperback from this web site, and also as a downloadable Kindle e-book (NOW ONLY £2.00 - available from the Amazon kindle store).  An Ibook (for IPad and IPhone) version is now also available from the Apple ITunes web site at: 


The book can now also be purchased direct from Amazon for £9.99 at: 

A donation from the sale of this book will be used to help rescue and care for bears in the Romanian bear sanctuary and elsewhere around the world where bears are under threat in the wild or suffering from cruelty in captivity.


These are some of the customer reviews of people who have bought the book from Amazon:

Beautiful Book - sums up this book as both the photos and the story are stunning and inspirational.”

One of the most beautiful books I know about bears, interesting and engaging is very informative reading too.”

This is a brilliant book telling the story of the plight of bears often cruelly confined in inappropriate settings.”

This wonderful new book is a must read for all bear lovers and anyone interested in the care and well-being of these majestic animals and the efforts to bring an end to the cruelty and abuse they are so often subjected to.”

This is a wonderfully moving story of bears rescued from appalling conditions and given a new life in a sanctuary.”

This is a great book for anyone interested in bears, wildlife or general animal welfare issues.”

Bear sanctuary is an interesting read with insight as to how the sanctuaries were built up and run, the pictures are first class and you come away with a better understanding of the lives of bears.”

If you love bears and want to be inspired knowing that there are such wonderful people and organizations out there giving their all to free these bears from the horrid situations humans have put them in then you are going to love this book.”



About The Author

Victor Watkins has worked in the field of international animal welfare for over 30 years. In 1992 he set up the world's first international campaign to protect bears from cruelty in the wild and in captivity. That campaign, called LIBEARTY, was run by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) for whom Victor is a wildlife adviser. The WSPA has recently changed its name to become World Animal Protection.

Victor initiated the concept of the bear sanctuary in 1992 to enable the Greek and Turkish governments to eradicate the cruel and illegal use of 'dancing bears' in their countries. All the bears were confiscated and re-homed in purpose-built forested sanctuaries to live out their lives in peace. He also helped to create bear sanctuaries in Hungary, Thailand, India and Pakistan and has worked on bear protection projects worldwide for the past 20 years.

Victor has supported the creation of the Romanian bear sanctuary and the rescue of captive bears in Romania since the project started in 2005. His book, Bear Sanctuary, tells the story of that project and of other bear sanctuaries and aims to create more international awareness about the need to protect bears and their natural environment.