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3 Little Bears, Found in Bulgaria, Head to Bear School in Greece

Orphaned cubs cling to one another, rescued just in time


April 26, 2018. Three bear cubs have been rescued from a precarious situation near a village in Southern Bulgaria by FOUR PAWS, the animal welfare organization.


The cubs are of a particularly vulnerable age were the constant care from their mother is vital. The cubs however, were found alone by the local Ministry of Environment and Water, near the village of Barutin in the Rhodope mountains. Due to their fragile state, the bear cubs required urgent care and were moved to FOUR PAWS’s bear sanctuary in Belitsa, Bulgaria.


"They were alone for nearly twenty-four hours, and during that time they hadn’t eaten or absorbed any liquids,” explained Dimitar Ivanov, manager of the Belitsa Bear Sanctuary, a rescue center which is jointly run by FOUR PAWS and the Brigitte Bardot Foundation. “Our experience shows that in more than 90% of the cases in which little bears are found in the wild, the mother has been chased or shot by poachers. Taking care of orphaned bears by humans is extremely difficult, but we will nevertheless do our best to save them.” 


The three cubs are approximately three months old and are still suckling. FOUR PAWS specialists have started to supply them with goat's milk, a surprisingly compositional match to bears’ milk. Additionally, vitamins are added to the milk to ensure the cubs are adequately nourished. The heaviest bear weighs over 6.5lbs while another weights less than 4.5lbs causing significant concern to the vets at the Belitsa Bear Sanctuary.


The cubs are under 24-hour observation by the team of the park. To reduce the stress of the cubs and ensure their successful preparation and adaptation to the wild, while at Belitsa Bear Sanctuary, their contact with people will be minimized. Outside visitors to this part of the sanctuary will be forbidden.


FOUR PAWS will continue to work towards a long-term solution for these cubs. Once their health is stable, the plan is to transport the cubs to a rescue station in Greece that specializes in young bears and rehabilitation to the wild. “These bears now have the best possible chance of survival and rehabilitation that humans can provide,” Ivanov explained, hopeful about the future of the little bears.