BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina is located approximately 12 miles from Prishtina near the village Mramor. The land allocated for BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina (by the Municipality of Prishtina) encompasses 39.6 acres.
Currently the built-up sanctuary area is 24.7 acres and provides an appropriate, lifelong home for 20 brown bears.
Three of the bears living here were bought and kept illegally as pets by Kosovan families when they were only a few weeks old. These bears were discovered and confiscated by the Kosovan police and transferred to BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina in the spring of 2014. Here, the bear cubs were given the chance to grow up under professional supervision in a species- appropriate environment. Thanks to the work of FOUR PAWS and BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina, no bears have lived under private ownership since 2014.
When Kosovo banned the private keeping of bears in November 2010, we responded immediately by offering the government our support to house the bears in a species- appropriate, animal-friendly way.
Our experts learned 19 former "restaurant bears" were being kept in miserable conditions and urgently needed help.
After successful negotiations, we signed an exclusive contract guaranteeing FOUR PAWS would be the only organization allowed to keep brown bears in Kosovo.
Now, each of the former restaurant bears have a new home at our BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, as a security measure, our sanctuary is closed to the public until further notice. The safety of our visitors, staff, and animals is always our highest priority. During this time, we will continue to ensure that our animals are being provided with everything they need. We hope to open again very soon and apologise for any inconvenience.
Private keeping of bears banned in Kosovo
The idea to establish a sanctuary for brown bears in Kosovo was conceived in the fall of 2010 after it became illegal to keep bears privately in Kosovo. At that time, there were 13 so- called “restaurant bears” living in tiny cages next to restaurants for the purpose of luring customers.
Due to the rising number of protests and inquiries from people concerned about these keepings, the Austrian Embassy in Kosovo became active and established a contact between FOUR PAWS and the Kosovan government.
FOUR PAWS offered to support the government with finding a solution for the illegally kept brown bears in Kosovo and agreed to establish a sanctuary for these bears. In September 2012, the land usage contract with the City of Prishtina was signed, and construction began immediately.
In March 2013, the first restaurant bear Kassandra was confiscated by Kosovan authorities in the presence of FOUR PAWS and was transferred to BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina. Within the next two months, 12 other restaurant bears were saved and transferred to the sanctuary. By housing all Kosovan restaurant bears, FOUR PAWS ended this sad chapter of animal cruelty in Kosovo. In the meantime, BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina is also home to bears from Albania, which were kept under conditions that are contrary to animal welfare.
Our effort to Save the Saddest Bears now aims to initiate a ban on the private keeping of bears in Albania.
Fifth anniversary of BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina
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